Sunderland boss Johnson provides injury update on O’Nien
Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has revealed that Luke O’Nien is set to play out the rest of the season with his shoulder injury before having it looked at for a permanent fix.
The Black Cats boss has praised the medical staff for their work with O’Nien and said that the ex-Wycombe man may need to deal with it dislocating regularly between now and the end of the campaign.
He told the Sunderland Echo:
“The physio and doctor have done a great job again. With that kind of injury, when they dislocate, the danger is the length of time that the shoulder is out. If that’s three or four hours, that’s a big problem. If it’s 20 seconds, it’s different.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to get through to the end of the season, but inevitably, he’ll probably need that shoulder pinned eventually.
Should O'Nien play through the pain?
“If he can handle it keeping on coming out and going back in, then we’ll be okay. But it’s a fine line. You want to protect him in the long term, but at the same time, we need him.”
Fans will be relieved
Sunderland fans will be relieved to hear this update from Johnson as it means that O’Nien should not miss a chunk of the current season through injury.
If all goes according to plan, the midfielder will be able to play through to May with assistance from the medical staff before potentially having surgery in the off-season.
The alternative solution is for him to fix it now and miss crucial matches in League One as Sunderland mount a promotion bid, which is not what the fans will be wanting to happen.
O’Nien has had a strong start to the campaign on the pitch. In three starts in midfield, he has averaged an excellent WhoScored rating of 6.98 – making an average of four tackles and interceptions per game. This shows how big of a role he has played so far for the Black Cats, with three wins from their first four League One matches.
Back in 2019, former Sunderland boss Jack Ross heaped praise on the former Wycombe utility man as he told The Chronicle: “He ticked a lot of boxes and then even when we did one-v-one stuff in training, he is awkward to get past, he is physical, competitive, and he doesn’t like people going by him.
“He has been a revelation in that respect, and credit to him for how he has faced that challenge.”
This, along with his statistics this season, highlights how important the £4k-per-week beast is to Sunderland and why fans will be delighted that he is set to continue playing, despite the injury.
Hopefully, this decision will not cause any long-term damage and he will be able to manage his way through the campaign.
AND in other news, Forget Winchester: SAFC beast with 12 duels won was Johnson’s unsung hero vs Wimbledon…