USA midfielder Weston McKennie has returned to Schalke training after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained on Matchday 15.
The 21-year-old dislocated his left shoulder in the Royal Blues’ 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on 15 December and has not played since, with head coach David Wagner saying he “would be out of action for a while”.
In consultation with Schalke’s medical department, McKennie opted against surgery and last month Wagner confirmed that he would “undergo a conservative course of treatment which means he won’t be able to play again until February”.
However, the Texan’s rehabilitation has progressed sufficiently for him to travel with the rest of the squad to Schalke’s warm-weather training camp in southern Spain as they gear up for the second half of the season.
In a video posted on Schalke’s official Twitter channel, McKennie can be seen undergoing individual drills with a member of the club’s coaching staff, performing exercises to hone is control and passing.
He has also taken part in the majority of full training with the rest of his colleagues, although he is not yet back in full combat mode and is not permitted to do any tackling as yet.
McKennie has made 13 league appearances for the Royal Blues this term, starting 10, and has been a key figure in the club's rise to fifth in the standings.
He is highly regarded by Wagner, who said his “character and way of playing embody a lot of what we need,” upon his arrival at the club last summer. The versatile all-rounder is likely to go straight back into the starting line-up when fit, especially as defenders Salif Sane and Benjamin Stambouli remain sidelined.
Schalke go into the Rückrunde just seven points behind leaders RB Leipzig and five adrift of Borussia Mönchengladbach, their opponents in the Bundesliga Matchday 18 opener on 17 January.