Hibs goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw has revealed his season is over after suffering a freak training ground accident which resulted in him having a 90-minute operation on his damaged shoulder.
The towering stopper believed he had done nothing more than sprain the joint diving to make a save during a shooting exercise, but was forced to later undergo a scan which disclosed he had suffered two tears.
The surgery left the 25-year-old facing a month in a sling with the warning from his specialist that it will be at least four months before he’ll be fit again, a prognosis which has effectively brought his season to a premature end.
Laidlaw’s accident left Neil Lennon with only the untried 19-year-old Kevin Dabrowski as cover for club No. 1 Israeli internationalist Ofir Marciano for Hibs’ past nine matches, a situation he rectified by moving immediately this month’s transfer window opened to snap up out-of-favour Dundee goalkeeper Scott Bain on a short-term deal.
Today the former Raith Rovers player admitted he was stunned to discover the severity of his injury, saying: “It was a normal Friday training session the day before we were due to play St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. We’d trained, worked on set-pieces and then finished off with a bit of shooting.
“I dived to my left for one shot and landed on my shoulder, I’d done that countless times before and landed more heavily than this time. Initially it felt fine, but then I felt something at the back of my shoulder.
“We thought I’d rolled it and suffered a sprain which would work it’s way out and I was actually anticipating returning to training a couple of weeks later. But I ended up going for a scan and it showed I needed surgery, although it didn’t reveal the full extent of the injury.
“The surgeon told me she wasn’t too sure what she was going to find and it turned out I had two what they call “slap tears”, one at the front and one at the back of the shoulder. She also said she hadn’t seen many football players with such an injury, it was something more usually associated with rugby players.”
Now Laidlaw, who once found himself in a high dependency unit in hospital after lacerating a kidney in another freak training ground accident, a collision with then Raith team-mate Ross Callachan leaving him requiring to have the organ “glued” back together, is bracing himself for another long and patience-testing recovery programme.
He said: “When the sling comes off my rehabilitation will start, trying to slowly get strength and movement back into the shoulder. Obviously as goalkeeper you need to get your arms up above shoulder height. The surgeon said four months at least which from the day of the operation takes us to the end of April, with the final Premiership game in mid-May.
“It means my season is over. I’m not going to rush things, I’ll follow the programme devised by the surgeon, the club doctor and physios, but I’d like to think I can be back training a couple of weeks before the season finishes with a view to being back fit and strong for the start of pre-season.”