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Stuart Holden returns to Bolton but still has a long way to go

Championship - 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28: of the United States of Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match at Soldier Field on July 28, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel

Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman has welcomed the return of Stuart Holden to the training ground but insists the US international still has a long way to go in his recovery from knee surgery.

“It’s great to have Stuart Holden back in the building with us,” Freedman told the club’s official website.

Holden has returned to the Championship side following five months of ACL rehabilitation after tearing the ligament while playing against Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship.

Noting the “quality” Holden brings to the Trotters, Freedman urged cautious optimism.

“If we’re being honest, he’s still got a long way to go. Don’t expect to see him out on the pitch in the coming weeks, but knowing Stuart and his mentality, he’s working as hard as he possibly can to get back out there.

“The plan is pretty straightforward. Stuart is back over here to spend a few weeks with our medical guys. We’ll see where he is, and then he’ll head back to the US to continue his rehabilitation.”

Freedman noted that the weather in the US makes it the optimal place for Holden to continue his rehab, which will last six to eight weeks before returning to England to engage in on-field play.

Freedman’s time-line means that Holden could begin training back at Bolton’s ground sometime by the end of February. At that time he would be seven months post-surgery. One can only speculate how long Holden will need to train before competing in an actual match but seeing minutes before the close of the club season shouldn’t be ruled out.

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