Raul Jimenez of the Wolves signals a teammate during his comeback in the Premier League against Leicester
Wolves forward Raul Jimenez says he “feels like a player again” after returning to the Premier League nine months after his skull fracture.
The 30-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the Wolves’ defeat by Leicester.
It was the first competitive game he was involved in since he played the traumatic injury against Arsenal.
“I always thought that after my recovery I would be back to do what I love,” said Jimenez.
“I never thought about ending my career. There was a chance, but I was always confident that I would return.”
Jamie Vardy, who scored the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 win, and other Leicester players congratulated Jimenez during the game on his comeback from a career-threatening injury.
If he plays now, Jimenez has to wear protective head protection that is modified according to his preferences – and felt “really good” over the weekend.
He added: “Since I’ve been training with the team, there have been a variety of head protectors. I’m confident. If it were up to me I wouldn’t use it. I would play normally.”
“The doctors told me it was protection to prevent something. At this moment it could be more dangerous for me than for any other player. I know that I have to be on the same line as the doctors and surgeons.”
Jimenez injury was serious – Nuno
Jimenez doesn’t have to avoid hitting the ball during practice, and he and the club’s medical team are watching over how many he hits as a precautionary measure.
He doesn’t remember the incident last November and only remembers putting his things in the locker room after a walk to see the Emirates pitch. The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital.
Perhaps that’s why the Mexican was able to watch the heads clash with David Luiz – and even asked the physios at Wolves to send him from different angles so he can understand what happened.
Jimenez said the hardest part of his long recovery was the frustration of feeling good enough to play at the end of last season, but when the medics said his skull wasn’t ready for the rigors of top-flight football.
“It’s something you can’t feel because you feel good, you feel prepared, but at the last moment on the MRI or the scans this tells us it hasn’t fully recovered,” he said.
“That was the hardest part because you think you are ready, but you are not.
“It’s not that I hurt my knee or something that I can feel while walking. I felt really good in that moment, but it wasn’t my time.
“I think I did a really good job on that. Even though I knew it was difficult, when I was fired this season last season, I had to wait almost three months to play again.”
“It was just a shock at the moment, but 10 minutes later I said, ‘OK, I have to keep recovering, keep doing what I do to be ready for the next season.’ I focused on the recovery. “
Wolves next host Tottenham on Sunday and Jimenez will face theirs former manager Nuno Espirito Santo in what he says will be an emotional occasion.
The frontman added: “It’s going to be fine. He’s been very supportive of us over the past few months. I saw him three weeks ago. He told me he was really excited to see me play again.”