Neil Lennon reveals Jozo Simunovic return date from injury

Neil Lennon has revealed when Jozo Simunovic will return to action after the Celtic defender underwent knee surgery earlier this month after struggling with recurring problems over the past few seasons.

Celtic have struggled with injuries this season with a number of their first team stars missing action at one point of time or the other. Mikey Johnston, Kris Ajer, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Marian Shved and Leigh Griffiths have all spent time in the physio room. But it is centre-back, Jozo Simunovic, who has picked up the most serious of the injuries and had to undergo a clean-up operation on his knee joint.

Simunovic has struggled with knee problems throughout his Celtic career. Since joining the club in 2015, Simunovic has missed over 470 days of action due to number of injuries, a number that is likely to cross 500 days after Neil Lennon revealed the defender will be out for another “three or four months”.

Initially it had been thought Simunovic would not miss more than a month-and-a-half worth of football. An arthroscopic knee surgery usually takes 4-6 weeks to recover from but athletes have been known to recover much quicker from it. Thus the extent of time that he will be out for certainly comes as a surprise. And it is most probably the accumulation of the injuries that the Croatian has suffered over the years that has resulted in his prolonged recovery period.

According to the Daily Record, Lennon said:

“You’re probably looking at three to four months.

“It was a clean-up, he knows what he has to do for his rehab and we’ve just been discussing whether maybe he can go away for a few weeks and do some rehab at home.

“It’s a blow for us, it’s a blow for the player, but he felt it was a necessity and thankfully it’s not a micro-fracture again, which is a serious operation where you’re out for six to eight months. The sooner we get him back the better.”

The injury could not have come for a worse time for Simunovic personally, after the emergence of Christopher Jullien as a towering presence at the back and Kris Ajer’s continued dominance. And by the time the Croatian returns, he will have a mountain to climb to make his way back into the manager’s first-team plans.