Gunners Back For Preseason Training; Vela Injured In International Match

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A downpour at the training ground greeted Arsenal players gathered for the squad’s opening session of preseason training, as manager Arsene Wenger put his players through their paces for the first time as a unit in preparation for the 2009-10 season.

A collection of photos from the soggy opening session can be found on the club’s official web site (from which the above shot is taken), featuring familiar Arsenal faces as well as some new and returning Gunners.

Thomas Vermaelen, acquired last month from Ajax as the club’s only first-team signing thus far this summer, took part in the initial practice session. Phillipe Senderos was also on hand, back after spending a season on loan in Italy with AC Milan.

Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo Da Silva, two Gunners who missed all or most of the last campaign out with injury, were welcomed back to the practice pitch by fellow teammates, which included William Gallas, Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin.

As noted in the article on http://www.arsenal.com, “There were some notable absentees from today’s session, including Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs, who reached the European Under-21 Championship Final with England, and Cesc Fabregas, part of Spain’s squad at the Confederations Cup in South Africa. They are expected back in action later this month.”

Another Gunner not yet back with the club is Carlos Vela, who is currently competing for Mexico’s national team in this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup being played in the U.S. Unfortunately, in the team’s first game on Sunday evening, Vela received an injury scare and was taken out in the opening minutes of a 2-0 win over Nicaragua.

Initially thought to be a possible broken bone, testing after the match indicated something much less severe for Vela, with Mexico’s team doctor even releasing a statement that the injury would not sideline the player from the tournament.

“The injury that is present is medial tibial pain, affecting the ligaments on the leg,” said Dr. Radames Gaxiola in the statement. “In simplest terms, he has a sprain.

“In the fifth minute of the first half, Carlos Vela was spun around by a rival player who leaned against him which caused Carlos to incur pain on his right leg,” Gaxiola continued. “Upon initial treatment, he felt pain on his right fibula. For that reason, after the game I went with him to a hospital to take x-rays and fortunately after evaluating the results it was determined that it was not a fracture.”

With tests for a fracture being negative, Vela will likely be able to continue to be a part of the Mexican squad in this regional FIFA tournament.

Adding on Monday that he will soon re-evaluate Vela’s condition, Gaxiola added, “For the meantime, he will continue icing his leg but the injury is not enough to cause him to miss the rest of the tournament. I hope he will recover as quick as possible and if everything goes well he’ll be available for selection in Houston, against Panama (on Thursday).”

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