Osimhen returns to Napoli training after recovering from COVID and facial fracture

By Innocent Benjamin

Would Osimhen be fit enough for tonight's Coppa Italia clash against Fiorentina? ZonalSports reveals.

A collage of expressive Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina and Victor Osimhen

Napoli have confirmed that Victor Osimhen on Wednesday returned to full group training session for the first time since suffering a second COVID infection earlier in January. 

The 23-year-old has endured a stop-start career since transferring to the Azurris with his inconsistent health problems forcing him to withdraw from Nigeria's AFCON 2021 squad. 

Osimhen has not featured in any of his team's matchday squad since suffering a severe cheekbone fracture in November 2021 in the clash against current league leaders Inter Milan. 

The injury which was reported to have forced his eye out of its socket have seen him resort to donning a protective mask in convalescence.

Just when it was believed that the U17 World Cup winner was gearing up for a return, he tested positive for coronavirus in the days leading up to AFCON which prematurely ended his participation in the competition before it even started. 

The club have been cautiously and gingerly guiding the player back to health with periodic scans to ascertain the extent of his recovery. 

Having travelled to Nigeria where he tested positive for the virus, the player returned to Italy on Monday. 

Following his return, he was visited by prof. Ginapaolo Tartaro, who operated on his face on November 23, for a CT scan. 

After close examination, the surgeon confirmed that following the formation of the callus, the player was healthy enough to return to first team training. 

We performed the control CT scan with Victor Osimhen and with professors Tartaro and Santagata. From a medical and biological point of view, the boy is very well and we are happy with the outcome of the tac," revealed the head of the Naples medical staff, Raffaele Canonico, to Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. 

"From the bone point of view, he recovered well. The player can train with the group. We modeled the mask with a 3D reconstruction also with indications that Osimhen gave us with discharge points that give psychophysical safety to the athlete

"Osimhen will wear this mask for at least a month and a half. Prudence is dictated by ours, but above all by its feelings. When he reports his predisposition to contact we will be ready to give him medical assessments on his return to the field." 

However, although the training session was in preparation for tonight's Coppa Italia clash against Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic's Fiorentina, the game would come too soon for the Nigerian. 

Osimhen is expected to return to the club's matchday squad when they visit Bologna on Monday

Napoli and Nigeria enjoy mixed fortunes striker's absence

Nigeria and kicked off their AFCON campaign against Egypt in convincing fashion, but more notably did so without golden boy, Victor Osimhen.

A lot of uncertainties surrounded the player's availability leading up to the tournament, before he was eventually ruled out. 

In his stead, Union Berlin's Taiwo Awoniyi and Almeria's Sadiq Umar have stepped up to the fore, helping Nigerians cushion the loss of their top talent. 

Nigeria have so much depth in the strike position that they were afforded the luxury of leaving Simeone Nwankwo, David Okereke and in-form Feyenoord man, Cyriel Dessers out of the squad.

This hasn't been the case with Napoli however. When Osimhen played his last game for Partenopei, they were top of the table despite losing their first game of the season to Inter. The match outcome could have also been different had Osimhen played the remaining 35 minutes after his injury-enforced substitution. 

Since his sidelining, Napoli have only won 3 of their 8 league games and have fallen off the summit of the Serie A to 3rd place, six points behind Inter who have a game in hand.

Although, still a lot of catching up to do, Napoli would be hoping the return of their talisman and top scorer will paper these cracks and turn their season around.