Real Madrid need to be careful with James

Real Madrid's medical team released a report on Monday afternoon confirming that James Rodríguez had suffered a muscle injury in his right calf, specifically to the soleus muscle. As usual, they didn't say how long they expected the player to be out for, relying instead on the formula of "his recover will continue to be assessed".

The soleus: a tricky muscle

From a medical point of view it's not a serious injury, but it's one that does require a certain level of precaution - as we've often said in this newspaper, the soleus is a tricky muscle. Generally, with just a few days rest the player will be able to run again with almost no discomfort, but as soon as the work rate is stepped up to a certain level of intensity, the pain can come back, significantly delaying recovery from the injury.

It's an injury in which the ultrasound scans tend to be fairly imprecise, meaning the medical team tend to use MRIs to get a more precise diagnosis. In general, to ensure the injury heals properly, the medical team needs to have a decent level of experience and not force the work rate during the healing process. It's standard for the player to be kept from playing for some two or three weeks, if the injury is fairly superficial. However, if it affects the deeper part of the muscle, the time out will be nearer four weeks. The most important thing is that the player's desire to get back into action, and the pressure from media to see them return to playing, don't conspire to bring the player back too soon, with a consequent relapse.