Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa has made his return to full training with the squad after missing six months with a broken leg. According to the French midfielder, he very nearly didn't make it at all after the leg became badly infected following surgery, leading to fears that doctors might be forced to amputate - obviously ending his career as a professional footballer. Fortunately, a second surgery was enough to save Ben Arfa's leg, and he's now re-joined the side after extensive rehab work in France.
Ben Arfa, 24, joined Newcastle over the summer from Lyon on loan and had only managed four appearances with Newcastle (scoring against Everton) before a Nigel de Jong tackle broke his right leg on October 3rd. Despite the injury and with his career in question, the Magpies made the deal permanent in January, which according to Ben Arfa has only motivated him to try harder for the club:
Newcastle showed me so much respect and a lot of love that I want to give back to them. I will give everything I can for this club because they trusted me and, for a human being, that is really touching.
It's unclear how quickly manager Alan Pardew will commit Ben Arfa back into the fray - Newcastle are in no danger of relegation this season and can afford to be relatively patient with him as he comes back from injury. There's no reason to take a risk that his healing isn't totally complete before having him make a comeback on the field.