You may have missed it through all the tears in your eyes, but Francesco Totti’s farewell on May 28th was notable for another gut wrenching reason. As is the AS Roma custom, with every season comes an ACL tear; it’s just the way mother nature works, don’t question it. In the winter it was Alessandro Florenzi’s turn (his second one), so the injury gods had to be satiated with new sinew, and Palmieri was simply the next man up. So when he winced in pain, Roma fans knew instinctively what happened; there was no way on God’s green earth that the Karate Kid was escaping with anything other than shredded knee ligaments.
Well, here we are nearly five months after the fact and it appears as though Palmieri is inching his way back to action. Reports out of Rome this morning indicated that Palmieri will begin training with Roma’s youth squad, who are no strangers to ACL rehabs themselves (Nura Abdullahi and soon Luca Pellegrini). Palmieri will join the kiddos on Monday with an eye towards playing in some friendly matches before being slowly infused into the senior side sometime in November.
The only reason we haven’t noticed his absence is simply because Aleksandar Kolarov has hit the ground running in his return to Serie A. However, with Kolarov playing nearly every available minute, there’s bound to be a breakdown at some point, or at the very least a downturn in production, so Palmieri’s presence will benefit both men. With Kolarov playing so well, there is no extra pressure for Palmieri to return to top form, while simply having a warm body to give him some rest will do Kolarov well in the long run.
But is six months really enough time for a proper recovery? We’ve seen it in the past with Kevin Strootman and just last spring with Florenzi, rush these things and you risk re-aggravating the injury. Not that we want to happen of course, but as Roma fans we have to be cautious, so let’s hope that Roma’s less than stellar track record with knees doesn’t rear its ugly head again.
In any case, getting a fully fit Palmieri back is a transfer unto itself. He was fast becoming one of the league’s most dangerous attacking fullbacks, so adding him to the fold could make Roma’s attack unstoppable.
So good luck with the kids, Emerson. Take your time.