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First team

Big step for Daniels on road to recovery

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The start of a painstaking rehabilitation programme gave Charlie Daniels an early taste of self-isolating.

Daniels took his first steps on the road to recovery by spending no fewer than eight hours a day flat on his back on a continuous passive motion machine.

The Cherries defender was initially housebound after having surgery to repair a dislocated right kneecap.  

Daniels’s 249th league appearance for the club was marred when he sustained the injury in the first half of the 2-1 defeat by Manchester City in August.

To compound his misfortune, the 33-year-old had only just returned to action having damaged his other knee in April 2019.

Under the watchful eye of physio Matt Best (pictured above), Daniels has made encouraging progress and his recovery this week took a significant step in the right direction.

Daniels told afcb.co.uk: “I did two running sessions on the AlterG, an anti-gravity treadmill. Everything feels fine and there was no reaction.

“My leg feels great so I’m going to persevere with that and then look to get back on the pitch.

“The AlterG lets you decide how much body weight you want to put through the knee and, at the moment, I’m on 60 per cent.

“You look to increase it week by week so, hopefully, it will go quite quickly and I’ll be on 100 per cent very soon.

“I feel great and everything has gone well so far but I’m not setting any targets on returning to training.

“Once I get outside and can start moving freely then I’ll start to have an understanding of where I am and how long it is going to take.”

Daniels, who is now in his ninth season at the club, is hoping his diligent and dedicated approach during the early days of his rehabilitation will reap rewards.

“It was tough and I didn’t leave the house for a fortnight,” he added. “There were days when I didn’t want to do it but knew I had to if I wanted to get back fit.

“You strap your foot to the CPM machine and it bends your leg for you. You can adjust the range which it extends to and the speed at which it goes.

“To start with, I did eight hours a day – two when I got up, two mid-morning, two in the afternoon and two before I went to bed. It was my life for about eight weeks.

“After that had finished, I used to come in sporadically and do as much as I could. I went on another machine which stimulates the muscles and now I can fully flex my leg.”

Daniels, who also had stem cell treatment in January, was keen to thank physio Best for his help and support during his recovery.

“I think he’s probably sick of me by now because I’ve seen so much of him!” joked Daniels, who was also treated by Best during his previous knee injury.

“He’s been excellent with me, he listens to what I say and is really understanding. The way he works and the way he puts forward all the exercises has really helped me.

“You could see how good he is from how quickly I came back from my first injury and how much trust and faith I put in the way he works.”

Expanding on his stem cell treatment, Daniels said: “I had an injection at the start of January and they took stem cells from my hip bone.

“When I first sustained the injury, a bit of cartilage came off the back of my kneecap. They grow the stem cells in the lab and they provide growth hormones which help heal all the damage in the knee.”

Daniels, the father of two young children, said self-isolating during the COVID-19 outbreak was not hindering his progress: “It’s not been too bad because I’m fortunate to have a bike at home which I can exercise on.

“For me, getting on the AlterG was my main objective. Fortunately, I can do that but just have to do it at a certain time when nobody else is about.

“There is a much bigger picture to think about and we’ve all got to be aware of everyone’s health. Family and health are the two most important things at this time and, hopefully, we can get this virus away as quickly as possible.”

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