Are Marveaux’s groin and Ba’s knee ticking time bombs? 2. Demba Ba.

Posted on June 28th, 2011 | 11 Comments |

Demba Ba.
Ba: Degenerative knee condition.
In all the euphoria of Mike Ashley recently signing three players of seemingly high calibre, all for under £5 million, it can be forgotten that two of these player have had injury question marks hanging over them, so I have decided to investigate the problem and look to see if Mike Ashley has taken something of a gamble with his recent brace of cut price stars.
Part Two – Demba Ba
.
Like his predecessor in this little two part series, Sylvain Marveaux, Ba was signed in a free / nominal fee transfer. He was released from West Ham on their relegation from the Premier League. Supposedly this was a condition of Ba’s contract when he signed for his previous club, though the terms of the deal were undisclosed at the time, it was thought to be highly dependent on appearances due to a degenerative knee problem which saw him fail two medicals at Stuttgart and Stoke City respectively.

After the Stoke deal fell through and Ba joined the Hammers, putting in performances which saw him score three goals in four games, Stoke manager, Tony Pulis, seemed to have no regrets, saying in an interview:

“If he’d been close to being OK we would’ve signed him.”

“But the medical reports we had showed there was a massive risk. Luckily for him and West Ham, nothing’s happened.

“However, we could’ve lost him after a training session and the money Hoffenheim wanted was unreasonable.”

What went wrong.

The roots of Ba’s knee woes go back to 2006. When playing for Belgian side, RE Mouscron he made a sharp turn and severely damaged his tibia in the manoeuvre, following a subsequent operation, his knee has been a problem ever since. At the end of his time at 1899 Hofffenheim, his injury flared up once again, causing him to miss the end of his last season there. It was shortly after this when he failed his Stoke medical.

A statement on the player’s official website at the time said:

“Demba who missed the 3 last games is out for the rest of the season. The Senegalese striker of Hoffenheim will undergo an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday, April 7th.

“Dr. Ulrich Boenisch in Augsburg Hessingpark-Clinic will carry out the intervention. Demba will stay several days in the clinic in Augsburg before attending a program of four weeks in a rehabilitation centre in Donaustauf near Munich. Meanwhile the medical staff of Hoffenheim will follow Demba.

“In 2006, doctors inserted a nail into his tibia after he has broken his leg. In 2009, after his tibia healed, the nail was removed at the trauma clinic of Ludwigshafen. During the removal, it is possible that fragments of the nail have touched a sensitive part of the knee, which explains the recurrent pain.

“Demba Ba has played 17 Bundesliga games this season. He scored 5 goals. In his absence, Hoffenheim, 7th in the German championship in 2008-09 for its first season in the bundesliga is currently at the 11th place.

And Ba said:

“It’s a very difficult moment for me. But with the support of my family and the club I will be ok. I will work very hard and come back even stronger. “

At the risk of moving into the realms of gossip and speculation, it was widely assumed that the deal he subsequently signed with the Hammers was structured so the amount they payed Hoffenheim was heavily dependent on the amount of appearances Ba made. It is to be hoped that the deal he signed with Newcastle is along these lines anyway. Although there was no transfer fee as such, Ba is signed to the club for a three year contract according to NUFC’s official website, and the players wages could still amount to a tidy sum if the player was left in the treatment room for much of his time on Tyneside.

Ba himself obviously seeks to play down the problem when talking about it. When speaking with the media on the eve of his move to West Ham last season the player said:

I don’t know why we are still talking about it. The knee is fine. I had surgery and the rehab didn’t go as well as it should. So it’s completely normal the knee isn’t 100 per cent. But I can play football, I know how to manage it.

Lets hope that things do work out for the player. If they do, Ba should be a fine addition to Newcastle United’s spearhead.

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11 Responses

  1. I think we might be playing with fire with Demba Ba and his exploding knee :lol:
    See Conner Whickham fee has been agreed by the mackems……Pffffffft

  2. 5 mill plus more over time amount to 13. I reckon if you went in with 8mill cash as is Ashleys way…but I dont think he is worth it.

  3. I think he could be fine. Over 100 games in 3 years at Hoffenheim says to me that it’s not a problem that crops up often or for a long time. A lot of our current players couldn’t claim to have played that many games in that period. If he can manage that, and plays 33+ games a season for us, I don’t think anyone could complain.

    With that record, I think the issue of his knee is being overplayed somewhat.

    The risk would come if the rate of deterioration increases past what the medical staff have anticiapated.

  4. scott,
    mate, they’re bound to overplay it, it’s the press v NUFC.
    Don’t remember this much press about it when he played for wetspam, all they reported were his goals.
    Best not spend any precious time reading their spite.

  5. I’ve just updated the story a little bit, noting that Ba has a three year contract with Newcastle United, and that that the information comes from the club’s official website.

  6. I think he could be a gem, another Tiote but with 15 goals a season, his attitude is perfect for us, a worker but with pace and ability.
    I`m glad we got him and I reckon aquite a few more teams will wish they had gambled on our 2 “Suspect players”, Marvellous down the left Benny and Ba down the middle and Gutti on the right, Cabaye, Tiote and Barton to fight for the CM.Thats a proper lineup.
    Cant wait, with more to come too
    HWTL

  7. I’m still a bit confused about the nature of this knee problem – I keep seeing it described as a ‘degenerative’ condition (as in this article) but is that really the case?

    I’ve copied this from an article that appeared in one of the local rags a few weeks ago:

    “We all know about it now, the chronic left knee complaint which halted a switch to Stoke City in January.

    The result of a botched operation after a broken leg, it is believed the problem stems from a nail inserted in his tibia that touched a sensitive part of the knee when it was removed.

    Subsequent surgery cleaned up the joint, but it has been enough to prompt most clubs to treat him with caution.”

    Now I’m not a medical expert, but assuming they’ve got their facts right, I don’t see anything there to suggest that this is a degenerative condition. They use the word ‘chronic’ (which simply means that the condition has been persistent over a relatively long period) and that seems to be the correct way to describe it.

    So basically I’m agreeing with scott, except that I’m not sure if there is likely to be any deterioration in this case, let alone any increase in the rate of it.

    Er, is there a doctor in the house? ;)

  8. chris_g on June 29, 2011 at 3:15 am.
    Yes you’re right about Demba’s knee problem. In September 2006 he broke his left tibia in Belgium and was operated. A nail was put near his knee and was only removed at Hoffenheim some 2 years later. A few month later, Demba had pains in his knee and they discovered a lump in which they found a piece of the nail remained at the previous operation. By removing it, they saw that something (I’m not quite sure if it’s the tendon) was slightly damaged. Nothing Degen. Demba’s a great player though.

  9. Puce says:
    June 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    “Yes you’re right about Demba’s knee problem.”

    Aye, he is Puce. From Ba’s official website:

    “Demba who missed the 3 last games is out for the rest of the season. The Senegalese striker of Hoffenheim will undergo an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday, April 7th.

    Dr. Ulrich Boenisch in Augsburg Hessingpark-Clinic will carry out the intervention. Demba will stay several days in the clinic in Augsburg before attending a program of
    four weeks in a rehabilitation centre in Donaustauf near Munich. Meanwhile the medical staff of Hoffenheim will follow Demba.

    In 2006, doctors inserted a nail into his tibia after he has broken his leg. In 2009, after his tibia healed, the nail was removed at the trauma clinic of Ludwigshafen. During the removal, it is possible that fragments of the nail have touched a sensitive part of the knee, which explains the recurrent pain.

    Demba Ba has played 17 Bundesliga games this season. He scored 5 goals. In his absence, Hoffenheim, 7th in the German championship in 2008-09 for its first season in the bundesliga is currently at the 11th place.

    Demba “It’s a very difficult moment for me. But with the support of my family and the club I will be ok. I will work very hard and come back even stronger. “

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