Analyzing possible root causes of N’Golo Kanté’s recent injury struggles & grade 2 adductor tear

Analyzing possible root causes of N’Golo Kanté’s recent injury struggles & grade 2 adductor tear

Articles Blog


Hey it’s Raj from 3CB Performance. Chelsea and French international box to box
midfielder N’Golo Kanté has been riddled with a series of injuries this season that
have seen him miss substantive time, with the latest – a “probable grade 2 adductor
tear” – coming vs Manchester United on 2/17. In this video, I’ll analyze the potential
root causes of Kanté’s injury plagued season, his grade 2 adductor tear, and when to expect
him back. Kanté’s flurry of injuries began at the
tail end of last season. In May 2019, Kanté suffered a right hamstring strain that kept
him out for 22 days and then, after returning, awkwardly twisted and injured his right knee
during a training ground challenge in the lead up to the Europa League final vs Arsenal.
However, after an injection to the knee – most likely cortisone to reduce inflammation – he
played an integral part in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory. The risk/reward of such an injection is that
although it allowed Kanté to play in the short-term, it doesn’t address the root
cause of the injury, potentially leading to downstream pain and discomfort and compensations
along his body’s kinetic chain with subsequent increase in injury risk. Those deficits were likely addressed over
the summer but then Kanté sprained his ankle in the lead-up to the 2019/20 Premier League
season which kept him out 33 days, returning September 21st, 2019. This injury likely added another layer of
movement compensation because persistent ankle discomfort and stiffness is common after ankle
sprains and the injury negated Kanté’s very important ramp-up portion of summer training
and pre-season in which players really begin to build their fitness levels. On October 15, 2019 – less than a month after
returning from the ankle sprain – Kanté strained his left hamstring during France’s World
Cup qualifying match vs Bulgaria. This muscular injury came as no surprise to
me due to Kanté’s multiple recent injuries and extended spells off the pitch, likely
resulting in fluctuating fitness levels. To that point, the research shows that significant
fluctuations in fitness and activity can increase soft tissue injury risk by nearly 5x. Accordingly, on 1/21/20 vs Arsenal – the last
game of a six game spell within one month’s time – Kanté tweaked an adductor muscle and
then went down with a non-contact grade 2 adductor tear within the first 10 mins against Man U on 2/17/20. The adductors are a group of muscles on the
inside of the leg that are heavily involved in most football activities. A grade 2 tear
implies a moderate tear in the muscle. The average return to play for elite athletes
with a grade 2 adductor tear is around three weeks, which is likely why Chelsea manager
Frank Lampard cited that timeline after Kanté’s injury. However, the exact timeline can depend
on the specific location of the tear with tears near the tendinous endpoints of the
muscle resulting in longer recovery timelines. If Kanté is on pace for returning within
the next one to two weeks, you’d expect to start seeing him ramping up on-pitch training
in the near future. That being said, even when he does return,
he’ll be at increased risk for re-injury because previous adductor injury is the highest
predictor of future adductor injury and this adds yet another insult to his fitness levels
and potential compensatory risks. That’s a wrap for this video. Thanks for
watching. My goal is to provide you with in-depth, evidence based, narrative free analysis and
you can always find me on IG and Twitter @3CBPerformance. Make sure to sub to the channel and follow
along on all social media for the latest updates. 3CB out.

1 thought on “Analyzing possible root causes of N’Golo Kanté’s recent injury struggles & grade 2 adductor tear”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *