Today marks a very important moment in Mansfield Town midfielder Alex MacDonald’s battle back from a long term knee injury.
After an operation and 15 weeks of hard graft in the gym, MacDonald finally takes to the grass today to start running with a special programme of games being drawn up to build him back up to full match fitness.
“Alex is on the grass this Thursday and we have pencilled some reserve games in for him in two weeks,” said manager David Flitcroft.
“Whether they are behind closed doors or not, we have to make sure we get them solely and purposely for Macca.
“What was initially a short term injury has turned into a medium term, longer than we all expected.
“From a conditioning point of view, Macca is going to need game time so that when he comes back into this team that’s playing well, he fits straight into it and there’s not a period of him catching up.”
MacDonald is ‘desperate’ to regain fitness and help the team with their promotion push.
“It’s been the longest period of my career injured,” said the midfielder.
“It was hard at the start and it’s even harder now watching because the lads are doing so well and you’re desperate to get back involved.
“I want to be out there with the lads helping.”
MacDonald admitted it had been a long, gruelling road back to recovery.
“I’m in earlier than most of the other lads, doing a lot of gym-based work” he said.
“I’ve had to come off my knee completely for quite a long period of time because of the bone bruising. It’s been hard as it’s been long days of not really doing too much on the knee.
“Now we’ve stepped it up and I have been working long and hard with Tom (Whittamore, head physiotherapist) and DT (Daryl Taylor, fitness coach) to get the leg strength up and there’s a sort of mini-pre-season coming up for me.
“It’s time to get fit now and really motor on and hopefully help the lads in the back end of the season.”