Jurrien Timber was in the stands as he watched Arsenal defeat PSV 4-0 in their first game back in the Champions League for seven years. The Gunners last appearance in the competition came in the 2016/17 season when they lost 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich.
So much has changed since then with Mikel Arteta forming an Arsenal team that is arguably their strongest squad since the Invincibles. That can be illustrated by the quality in depth Mikel Arteta currently has at his disposal, despite new signing Jurrien Timber not being available.
Jurrien Timber signed for Arsenal this summer from Ajax for around £30million which was seen as a bargain at the time. The defender unfortunately picked up a long-term ACL injury on his Premier League debut against Nottingham Forest which is set to keep him on the sidelines for at least six months.
However recent signs show he is making good progress in his recovery and is currently on schedule to play for Arsenal again this season.
This week, the Arsenal players took their annual squad photo for the 2023/24 season and among the group was Jurrien Timber walking without his crutches. The defender underwent surgery on his ACL last month and this is the first sign that he’s able to walk unaided which shows the player is currently on schedule to return around March/April time.
Jurrien Timber also recently posted on Twitter showing himself doing light gym work as he takes the next step in his recovery.
— Jurrien Timber (@JurrienTimber) September 20, 2023
Unfortunately, there’s not too much to read into Timber coming off crutches.
NHS guidance suggests that you should be able to walk without crutches two-to-three weeks after surgery, so the only positive to take from this update is that Timber is currently on schedule.
The player is still very unlikely to play football for at least six months after his surgery, and most players take closer to a year to get back to their old level.
In Timber’s case, the six-month mark would be around February, but as we’ve seen with Mohamed Elneny, it can take a few months after initially joining training to get back onto the pitch for a competitive fixture again.
Most likely, Timber isn’t going to play a significant role for Arsenal for the remainder of the season, and we’ll be lucky to see him back out there in a match before the campaign ends.
But you never know, it wouldn’t be the first time a player has returned from an ACL rupture sooner than that.