Marc-Andre ter Stegen has missed Barcelona’s last three matches against Rayo Vallecano, FC Porto, and Atletico Madrid due to a lower back problem.
The 31-year-old suffered the injury soon after joining the Germany national team camp last month during the international break and returned to the club without playing for them.
Initially, it was believed that the issue was nothing serious and that Ter Stegen would be back rather quickly. But things have not turned out that way, as the German ace’s recovery has been going much slower than expected.
Surgery a possibility
Now, SPORT’s Tomas Andreu is reporting that Ter Stegen could be forced to undergo surgery to fix his back problem.
Despite initially opting for conservative treatment and some optimism that the discomfort would subside, the goalkeeper is still unable to train normally with the rest of the squad and the German goalkeeper has now missed three games for Barça.
Xavi hinted that he will not be in the next game against Girona either, saying: “He has some discomfort and has not been able to train normally.”
That is why this Monday a meeting is scheduled between the coaching staff and the medical department to assess the situation and decide the next step to take.
Among the options being considered is the possibility that Ter Stegen may have to undergo surgery to solve his lumbar problems definitively.
Nothing has been 100% decided yet, but with conservative treatment failing to deliver the expected results, the time has come to consider other options.
Pena proving to be a reliable alternative
While surgery could mean a longer spell on the sidelines for Ter Stegen, Barcelona have found a more-than-reliable alternative in Inaki Pena.
The La Masia graduate has proven himself in the last three games and was one of the stars for the Catalans last night against Atletico Madrid.
So, Barcelona can afford to take their time with Ter Stegen and ensure that his recovery is complete and definitive, surgery or otherwise.