Jimenez could play again this season as Wolves boss Nuno delivers positive update

The Portuguese is hopeful that he will be able to call upon a talismanic performer again soon as he continues his recovery from a fractured skull

Nuno Espirito Santo says Raul Jimenez could play again this season, with the Wolves boss delivering a positive update on the striker’s fitness ahead of a meeting with Chelsea.

Jimenez has not played for Wolves since being stretchered off in the first half of a 2-1 win against Arsenal on November 29.

The Mexican forward was rushed to hospital after clashing heads with David Luiz, and he was diagnosed with a fractured skull after being evaluated by doctors.

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He spent a few days under observation after undergoing successful surgery on the issue, before beginning an extensive rehabilitation programme.

Wolves have struggled in the absence of Jimenez over the past two months, winning just one of their last nine Premier League fixtures, and he will also be unavailable for selection when Nuno takes his team to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Wednesday.

However, the Portuguese head coach said he was optimistic that the 29-year-old will return soon, having seen the forward make great strides with his recovery in recent weeks.

Asked if Jimenez could play again before the end of the 2020-21 campaign, Nuno responded: “We are truly positive that this can happen. It’s very good news the way he keeps improving day by day.

“Not only me but all the medical staff are surprised because he’s improving on all the concussion tests that we did previously two seasons ago. He’s doing really, really well.

“Just by seeing him running and lifting weights and doing all these strong training sessions it’s a big lift for everybody because first of all it’s [about] the man.

“It’s Raul, we want Raul back healthy and then we will get back Raul as a player and an important player for the team. The big lift for us is just having him around.”

The Wolves manager won’t be rushing Jimenez back into the fold, though, as he added: “We had a medical plan and these things are very responsible decisions to be made because of how serious the injury was.

“We have to be really patient and take the right decisions and this will require decisions from the surgeon, scans on the skull – all these things take time and we will proceed according to the situation.

“We will not rush or take any kind of risks.”

Nuno is confident that Jimenez won’t be affected psychologically after such a horrific injury, but he stopped short of predicting how long it will take for him to get back into peak physical condition. 

“That part is not a worry for us because he’s exactly the same guy, always a smile on his face, aware of the process he has gone through and confident that he wants to return stronger,” he said.

“Heading and how can he deal with this situation, how his brain will react to acceleration, deceleration, jumping and impact is another issue. That will come in time.”

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