The Coronvirus pandemic has a way of warping one's sense of time and place, so it may be hard to believe that only five months have passed since Nicolo Zaniolo tore his ACL against Juventus on January 12th; one of two tears that day along with Juve's Merih Demiral. In the wake of that injury, it was right to question what the future held for Roma's franchise player. One thing was for certain, though: his 2019-2020 season, and likely his hopes for Euro 2020, disappeared the moment he fell to the Olimpico pitch.
What no one could have predicted, of course, was that the entire world would come to a halt for several months. With humanity pressing pause on normality, Zaniolo was essentially given three free months of rehab; a time to recuperate free from expectations, reality and the pressure to save Roma. It's not a blessing in disguise because we're still talking about a serious injury to a young player, not to mention the real world problems the pandemic has caused, but it seems as though Zaniolo has made productive use of his down time.
According to reports out of Italy, Zaniolo’s rehab is way ahead of progress, to the point where he's played exhibition matches with Alberto De Rossi's Primavera side. While he hasn't yet returned to training with the senior side, he's reportedly been given the okay to ramp up his conditioning and training after a series of successful tests at Villa Stuart.
Given the recency of this injury and his importance to Roma's future plans, we can safely assume the Giallorossi medical staff will continue to treat him with kid gloves, but to reach this point after only five months almost seems like a miracle.
Roma will need all the help they can get in their quest to hunt down Atalanta and/or win the Europa League, and certainly a healthy Zaniolo would go a long way towards achieving those objectives, but make no mistake Roma have to be very careful here. Risking Zaniolo's future to make short-term gains could be disastrous.
So, what do you think: If he's healthy enough, should Roma bring him back?