As Yuya Osako sat next to the VfB Stuttgart goal receiving treatment in the wake of his 58th minute collision with keeper Przemysław Tytoń, the television cameras caught the Japanese striker asking training staff several times in succession, “Okay?”
Eventually receiving the answer he wanted, Osako seemed satisfied and started preparing himself to rejoin his teammates.
But it turns out that “okay” enough for an eager athlete to return to action does not preclude the damage done revealing itself after a few days rest.
Osako missed training Tuesday, the first day back to work in preparation for Saturday’s home opener against VfL Wolfsburg. Coach Peter Stöger confirmed that it was his knee that caused Osako’s absence.
“He has been examined,” explained the coach of his missing striker. “He is having problems – nothing serious – with the knee.”
“Nothing serious” likely means there is no imminent danger of a long-term loss of Osako, though it’s also not part of Stöger’s methodology to be 100% forthcoming with information that could assist opposition in their game-planning. As far as the coach is concerned, Osako might be back to training tomorrow, or who knows?
But one thing is for certain; he will not endanger a player’s long-term health and availability in such a case.
“We’ll have to see how it goes heading into the weekend,” said Stöger about Osako’s status for Saturday’s match. “As always, we will not take any chances.”
Both Tyton and Osako stayed on the ground after colliding. Replays appeared to show that Osako’s left knee flexing in an unnatural way as the keepers weight fell onto the extended leg.
That Osako was able to continue through the end of the game, which he capped with an unchallenged tap into an empty goal off Anthony Modeste’s generous pass to provide the final 3:1 margin, would seem to indicate that there was no major damage done. Whether his situation Tuesday was something from an aggravation to the initial injury or a simple case of things getting more stiff after getting away from activity, we’ll have to wait to see whether Osako returns to the training ground during the week before knowing his situation.