It's been a while since we've heard the name, Josh Gatt. The hard-luck Molde FK winger has been the victim of several knee injuries over the years limiting his playing time to one first-team match played since 2013. Gatt is on the comeback trail once again and his manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is hoping to have him back in the first-team fold in July if all goes well.
The 24-year-old is back in Norway training with the club after a seven-month recovery from a third knee operation. Gatt had been in Germany training with fellow injury Americans Joe Gyau and Terrance Boyd.
Great to see our players connect and making progress in Munich:— Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) March 31, 2016
Keep going strong!! @36finest @TBoyd91 @JoshuaGatt pic.twitter.com/mGMwP3WySx
Solskjaer tells a Norwegian news outlet that he's happy to have Gatt back and lays out the road back to the first-team for the oft-injured Michigan native.
"It's good to have Josh back here, but we know it will take some time before he is on the pitch to train and play football, says coach.
He must only show us that the knee is strong enough, then it becomes his turn. We're not going to take any chances this time. The boy's positive and impatient, so it is our job to hold him back a bit. Neither one week extra than a day too little.
He is not applicable to the big leagues until July. Maybe he can get a championship fight in May and some 2 divisjonskamper in June."
-Molde Manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; Source: rbnett.no - via Google Translate
While it's encouraging to see Gatt making progress on his road back to playing, we've seen this story a few times over the past three years. It's probably wise to contain any excitement until he's proven his knee can handle the stress of soccer activities.
We've seen several promising American soccer player's careers end way too early because of similar knee issues. It'd be a shame if Gatt becomes just another in that line. Hopefully, his luck improves and he can get back on the track that got him a USMNT cap in 2013.