PENANG: Just a day after undergoing surgery to insert a titanium plate to hold together his broken jawbone, Penang's Argentine import Gustavo Romero is already talking about resuming training.
The striker, who celebrated his 22nd birthday last Thursday, fractured his right jawbone in a collision with Selangor goalkeeper Azmin Azram Aziz during the Panthers' 1-0 Charity Shield victory on Sunday.
Despite being told by his doctors to lay off the game for at least six weeks, the restless Romero has asked for permission to resume jogging and light “non-contact” training in two weeks' time.
“I could not remember what happened after crashing into the Selangor keeper as I must have passed out. After gaining consciousness, it was very painful but there is not much pain now after the surgery and I feel much better.
“As the injury is just to my face, I have requested the doctor to allow me to do some light training to keep myself fit. And he has consented for me to get back into the gym in two weeks' time as long as I make sure I don't aggravate the injury,” said Romero from his hospital bed at the Loh Guan Lye Specialist Centre here yesterday.
Romero has been put on a liquid diet as he is unable to chew solid food.
His doctor, who declined to be named, said that it would be best if the reconnected jawbone is allowed to heal completely on its own.
“Normally, it takes about five weeks after surgery for the bones to heal naturally. I have ordered Romero to totally distance himself from football for the next six weeks as even a slight contact to the affected area could prolong the recovery period,” said the doctor.
The Argentine, who is expecting to be discharged from the hospital today, received a surprise visit from the Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is also the Football Association of Penang (FAP) president.
“I do not think the Penang strike force will be crippled by Romero's absence,” Dr Koh said. “There are able replacements in the squad and I urge the other players to adopt a positive attitude to work doubly hard in training to make up for Romero's non-appearance.”
“Therefore, when he returns from the injury next month, we may end up with a stronger team,” he said.