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Relief for returning Freeman as he thought his Hatters season was over after undergoing groin repair

Town midfielder Luke Freeman has spoken of his relief at finally finding a cure for his persistent groin injury once and for all, after fearing it had wrecked his chances of playing again for Luton this season.

The 31-year-old has been plagued by the problem since moving to Sheffield United in 2019, as during the 2021-22 season, he was injured in September, as after coming back and featuring once then went to Millwall in the January transfer window, only to break down again, making just one appearance.

Arriving at Luton in the summer, Freeman had spoken about the misdiagnosis of his initial injury when at Bramall Lane, as he was in and around the team in the early stages, starting eight of the first nine Championship matches, but only once more since, that the 4-0 defeat to Watford in October.

Town midfielder Luke Freeman has made his return from injury in recent weeksTown midfielder Luke Freeman has made his return from injury in recent weeks
Town midfielder Luke Freeman has made his return from injury in recent weeks

When current manager Rob Edwards took over from Nathan Jones, the former Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City player was injured again after the 3-0 QPR victory over the festive period, which led to yet another prolonged spell on the sidelines as he looked to get to the bottom of the issue.

Although he has now done that, by heading to a specialist in London, Freeman did fear the worst as when asked if he thought his campaign had come to an end, said: “I did to be honest with you, I did.

“I came on against QPR and I remember feeling what I’d normally been feeling, this kind of general pain that was half liveable as such and playable, and then I just felt something completely go down there and I just knew it was not right.

“I went for a scan and kind of knew what it would be anyway, but they told us what we already knew.

“It was a groin repair.

“Without going too technical, it was stuff that had been done previously, would then have a knock-on effect with other stuff and it would be recurring things in and around the groin area.

“It’s been four operations in four years, so it’s nice to finally get it done because it was a case of going on the operating table, doing the rehab, getting back fit, not feeling the best and then having to go back on the operating table again.

“I did that four times, so it’s been frustrating, but at the same time I’m happy it’s all resolved now and we’re in a good position, me as a player and as a team.

“It was someone in London, I have been abroad, but this time it was in London.

“We did (go to an expert) this time, which is brilliant.

“We finally got to the bottom of an injury that’s been going on for about three or four years now.

“It sidelined me for four months, but I’m thankful that it’s finally been resolved.”

Going into a bit more detail on just how difficult an injury it has been to finally get over, Freeman reiterated that had the first operation been done correctly, it might have saved him a lot of pain, as he continued: “In the groin area is very complex, it’s not as simple as looking on a scan and going ‘that is it.’

“You look at one thing and then it maybe leads to another if it’s not done right.

“That was the thing with me.

“We thought it was one thing which it was, it didn’t get done properly as such, or wasn’t done as best as it could have been done.

“Then once you carry on playing with that stuff, it’s almost like a knock on effect with other stuff in and around that area which is compensating for something that’s not working.

“Then something else goes and then in the end I’m having a cocktail of injuries, that’s basically what happens.

“So had it been done properly in the first place it would have been resolved very early, but it’s just one of those things unfortunately.

“It’s not always as easy as that because of how complex the area is and what goes on down there.”

Freeman had been happy with how his start to life at Kenilworth Road was going, featuring on a regular basis, and also scoring twice, in wins over Cardiff City and his old team QPR.

However, he soon started to get that sinking feeling when the injuries were occurring once more, saying: “It started off quite well, the first 10 games were good.

“The start of the season we thought it was resolved for the third time and that’s when I kept on picking up these little knocks that kept setting me back two, three weeks.

“Then it was just gradually getting worse, you come back for two, three weeks and then you’d be out for two, three weeks.

“You could never get any actual kind of momentum for myself as a player.

“We all thought it was resolved and then the more I started to play, the more it started to unravel that it wasn’t resolved unfortunately.

“It was one of those ones, you want to get it out of the way and done with.

“As frustrating as it is being out for that period of time and then losing a chunk of the season and then having to play catch-up with the fitness side of it and then probably being a little bit rusty, it was something that needed to be done.

“I couldn’t keep on just doing what I was doing, so frustrating, but at the same time relieved that it’s all been done and resolved.”

Freeman was finally fit enough to make his return during the 3-1 victory over Blackpool recently and has gone on to make cameos in the Hatters’ last five matches.

He is now looking to play his part in Town’s play-off campaign that starts after Monday’s clash against Hull City, adding: “We all probably thought the season would be over, me and the medical staff have done well, the gaffer as well, he’s been brilliant with me, to get me back as quick as I have done.

“I honestly thought the season would have been over, so to be back and to be involved in the last five games and now going into the play-offs as well, with another game on Monday and three more games hopefully, it’s good to catch the last eight games of the season.

“It’s a great time to come back in at this time of year, there’s a lot to play for, and with the lads such a great bunch, hopefully get to look at that play-off spot.

“I’ve been put through my paces.

“Obviously being out for four months, it’s not going to be easy to go and play a 90 minutes, but with regards to coming on and making an impact, I try and make an impact and help the team out.

“I feel like I’ve been doing that, so all good.

“It’s nice to finally get back fit, going through the rehab and actually getting back fit and actually feeling good, whereas the last three times I’ve had the surgery, done the rehab, got back fit and still not feeling the best.

“So it’s nice to get back fit and feeling good as well.”

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