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 By Mike Whalley

Everton treating Traore with caution

LIVERPOOL -- Everton must manage Lacina Traore’s hamstring injury for the sake of his long-term career, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

Lacina Traore sustained the injury while warming up at Stamford Bridge.
Lacina Traore has endured a frustrating spell at Everton.

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Traore, 23, on loan from Monaco until the end of the season, will remain on Merseyside for treatment as he recovers from the injury sustained in the warm-up before a 1-0 defeat at Chelsea on Feb. 22.

Martinez is hopeful that the Ivory Coast international will be fit to return for the final games of Everton’s season before his stay at Goodison Park comes to an end.

But he will not rush back a player who has suffered two hamstring injuries in the last three months.

The Toffees boss made clear that the two injuries were not connected, though, telling a news conference of his most recent setback: “It was a separate injury but in the same muscle.”

But he added: “It’s always a concern. When you’ve got a couple of soft tissue injuries, it’s something that’s going to be a concern, especially given the type of footballer Lacina is. He’s a sprinter, so that’s going to be a factor in the way we go through the recovery programme. We want to make sure that’s taken into consideration.

“That’s why it was important to look into whether the player would need surgery. He saw a specialist, who said there’s no need for that, and that’s very good news from our point of view.

“But there is a concern. We need to make sure that those soft tissue injuries disappear for Lacina, for the good of his career. As you can imagine, he was emotionally devastated at the Chelsea game.

“I do feel if we can get him fit before the season ends, we’re going to see a player who is really hungry and desperate to help the team. All we want is for Lacina to recover well, to be fully fit, to make sure he has a little bit of a say in our season and ensure that he’s fully fit for the World Cup.”

Traore sustained his first hamstring strain in December, while still with Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala.

He joined French Ligue 1 side Monaco on a four-and-a-half-year contract on Jan. 4, and was then loaned to Everton 20 days later.

Having been an unused substitute for the 1-0 defeat at Tottenham on Feb. 9, Traore made a goal-scoring debut seven days later in the 3-1 FA Cup fifth-round victory over Swansea.

But he then suffered a second hamstring injury in the warm-up at Stamford Bridge the following weekend.

Martinez insisted that the injury was not a result of rushing Traore back too quickly.

He said: “We never rushed him back in the first place. When you rush someone back and you’re working on their fatigue [issues and match fitness], that’s when the risk of being injured is there.

“Lacina travelled with the team for a couple of games, just to get used to the environment. He played 60 minutes in the next game and came through really well, and then he got injured in the warm-up.

“That was not a fatigue issue. He was in action striking the ball. So it was an accident that could have happened to someone with no previous record of that sort of injury.

“I was pleased with the way we coped with it, and the way we prepared Lacina to play. Injuries are part of the game. But we need to make sure Lacina gets the perfect treatment so that we don’t see that again in his career, whether at Everton or not.”


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