The worst part of Georginio Wijnaldum's injury (well, not the worst part) was that we barely caught a glimpse of the 31-year-old Dutch midfielder. While the hype surrounding his arrival paled compared to Paulo Dybala's, thanks to his poise and experience, Wijnaldum was hailed as a game-changing addition for Roma as they prepared for year two under José Mourinho.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, Wijnaldum's season was put on hold in mid-August after he suffered a fractured tibia during a training session before Roma's week two matchup against Cremonese. And while we obviously can't measure his performance on his pitch, with every passing match in which Roma's midfield looks overwhelmed or simply confused, Wijnaldum's value becomes more apparent.
Defensive midfielders like Wijnaldum will seldom be the reason your team wins matches but remove a good one from the equation, and everything goes into shambles. But there's good news on that front. According to the Corriere dello Sport, Wijnaldum, who was in attendance for Roma's 1-0 loss to Napoli at the Olimpico last weekend, has advanced to the next phase of his recovery.
The skeptics among us may say that's because he's seeking treatment in Rotterdam rather than relying on the club itself (though Roma's medical team has been in constant contact with them). Still, either way, Wijnaldum's tibia has healed without the benefit of surgery, and he's now cast-less, walking under his own power and ready to progress to the next phase of his recovery.
And according to the CdS, Wijnaldum could return to the pitch during Roma's trip to Japan next month or, failing that, the club's post-World Cup training camp in Portugal in December.
Wijnaldum returning to the field would be a tremendous shot in the arm for Roma, who desperately need his calming presence in the middle of the park. Stay tuned for further updates!