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Victory in dark on Honda A-League return

Keisuke Honda's A-League return date remains a mystery for Melbourne Victory with club doctors baffled by his "freak" hamstring injury.

Victory in dark on Honda A-League return

Keisuke Honda's A-League return date remains a mystery for Melbourne Victory with club doctors baffled by his "freak" hamstring injury.

KEISUKE HONDA of Japan during a Japan training session and press conference ahead of the FIFA World Cup Group H match between Poland and Japan at Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia.
KEISUKE HONDA of Japan during a Japan training session and press conference ahead of the FIFA World Cup Group H match between Poland and Japan at Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia. Picture:Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat admits the club has no idea when Keisuke Honda will be back in A-League action after suffering a "freak" hamstring injury.

Days after Victory put a four-week timeframe on Honda's recovery, Muscat has conceded the Japanese international's return date is a mystery.


The 32-year-old was a late withdrawal for the past two weeks, having suffered a strain in the soft tissue surrounding his right hamstring.

Honda trained fully earlier this week in a bid to face Western Sydney this Saturday but pulled up sore and scans revealed a hamstring tear.

"The specialist that we've been speaking to, the rarity of this injury and where it is, the last time he's seen this was 30-odd years ago," Muscat said on Friday.

"The radiologist hadn't seen one in his career. It is a little bit of a freak in terms of where it is.

"Keisuke's into his rehab and we're working diligently to get him back as soon as healthily possible.

"Having said that, we don't know when that's going to be ... there's not as much data on this type of injury as there is with all the other hamstring injuries because of the rarity."

Muscat insisted the club had erred on the side of "extreme caution" by withdrawing Honda from Friday's 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix.

His loss is a major blow for the second-placed Victory, who have drawn their past two matches after winning six in a row.

The former AC Milan star co-leads the Victory with five goals this season, is equal second in the league with assists (three) and leads the club in chances created (21).

They now enter a vital stretch of seven games in the next month, including heavyweight bouts against Wellington and Sydney FC later in January.

They are also likely without defender Nick Ansell for some time after he too sustained a hamstring issue but imports Raul Baena and Georg Niedermeir are nearing returns.

Muscat indicated neither would start against the Wanderers on Saturday but hopes they can soon be reintegrated into the club's championship defence.

Western Sydney will be desperate to respond at ANZ Stadium after their famed Red and Black Bloc walked out midway through Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Melbourne City.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Western Sydney have triumphed just once in their past 15 meetings with Victory.

* The Wanderers have lost their past three at ANZ Stadium, their worst run at the venue.

* A win or draw will extend Victory's unbeaten run to nine - their best streak since round 15 of 2016-17.

AAP


AAP




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