Manager Dean Keates has confirmed that on-loan Arsenal defender Krystian Bielik has suffered an unfortunate setback in training which will rule him out of upcoming games.
The Polish centre-half was given the all-clear to join training and trained with The Saddlers throughout last week following a knee problem which flared up in Bielik’s recovery from a hamstring injury.
But that hamstring issue has reoccured, meaning Bielik will need to return to Arsenal to continue his rehab.
“Krystian has had a flare up of the previous injury he came up with,” said Keates.
“We had him back up last week and were told he was ready to come back in. He trained twice last week and then he trained in the early part of this week.
“He’s had a bit of a problem again with his hamstring so he’s gone back down to Arsenal. They’ll assess him and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Head of Medical Marc Czuczman has worked closely with Bielik following the defender’s arrival at Essington, and says the flare-up is just an extremely unfortunate setback for Krystian, and nothing to do with the recovery process.
“Krystian joined us last Monday after doing some rehab with Arsenal,” said Czuczman.
“Last week was the first time we had him in - he came through a full rehab programme at Arsenal including pitch rehab as well as his strength work in the gym.
“They were happy for him to return and when he came up and we looked at him, he was looking in really good shape.
“He trained really well with the squad and we didn’t overload him too much - we let him train on the Monday and the Tuesday with the First Team. He had a gym day on the Wednesday and relaxed on Thursday before joining with the group again on the Friday.
“He was doing a bit of defensive work and got himself in a bit of an awkward position and just overstressed the hamstring.
“Looking at the movement, you wouldn’t expect it to be anything too significant but the injury he was dealing was before was the tendon, as opposed to the muscle itself.
“Tendons take a lot longer to heal and although sometimes you can look and feel fantastic, be as strong as you like, it can be completely innocuous.
“You could watch him move, see him in the gym or on the pitch, running in straight lines, and nothing would be obvious to the eye before, during or after training.
“It’s just one of those things where you can do all the tests and markers - and Arsenal have done that and the rehab they provide is exceptional as you can imagine - but it’s just unfortunate.
“Arsenal looked at him on Wednesday for us and they agreed that it is just a slight flare-up of the tendon, but the muscle fibres themselves are okay. The tendon though will take a little bit of time to heal.
“I’m actually devastated for Krystian because he was training really well. He’s had an unfortunate year with his shoulder earlier in the year - he’s just desperate to play football.”