Arsenal defender Jurrien Timber has been unavailable for Mikel Arteta since August after anterior cruciate ligament injury forced him off the pitch against Nottingham Forest on his Premier League debut.
The defender was seen back on the training pitch for the first time while in Dubai this week, where Arsenal enjoyed a warm-weather training camp ahead of their game against Crystal Palace this weekend.
Mikel Arteta provided an update on Jurrien Timber ahead of the game: “There is a possibility [he plays again this season], but at the moment he’s still very far from competing. That’s the realistic picture of it.
“Are we hopeful that he could have a realistic impact before the end of the season? If everything goes well, it looks like that might happen. At the moment though it’s too early to make that call.”
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Mikel Arteta took his usual pessimistic approach on injuries, as he also refused to give an update on the fitness of individual players but said Gabriel Jesus was among a few who would be touch and go whether they are available to start against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
However we understand Jurrien Timber is progressing really well from the injury picked up on his Premier League debut. Although Mikel Arteta refuses to put a time frame on the defender’s return, according to reports we could potentially see the player back on the pitch as early as March, which would provide a huge boost for the Gunners.
If Mikel Arteta can have him available for the second-half of the season it could be vital, especially if the club find themselves in a similar position as last season where they’re fighting Manchester City for the Premier League title.
Timber made a dream transfer from Ajax to Arsenal this summer, which paid a maximum of £40million for him. The defender got off to a great start to the season in London, winning the Community Shield against Manchester City on penalties with Arsenal.
Timber, who received a lot of praise for his performance, immediately won his first trophy and he’ll be looking to build on that once he returns to action.