The big Swede suffered severe damage to his knee ligaments back in April against Anderlecht but agreed to a new one year deal with the club over the summer after showing good progress in his rehabilitation process.
Zlatan’s agent Mino Raiola and Andy Cole, who was pictured with the 36-year-old in the gym earlier this month, have both predicted a January return.
But Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of the Huddersfield clash, noted that he expected him to return before the turn of the year.
“Zlatan is here, he’s working here, under our control, he’s working so so so so hard but he’s not to be back in the next week or couple of weeks, let him take his time and be back when everyone feels is the right moment,” he said.
“Do I think he will be back in 2017, yes I do. But is just a feeling.”
We should note that Mourinho is going off pure intuition here. A hunch, so to speak. Logic still dictates that Zlatan, like any recipient of an ACL rupture, should return at some point in January, but we should not dismiss Mourinho’s ‘feeling’ so quickly.
After all, the Portuguese, although never overseeing an ACL injury before that clash with Anderlecht, knows plenty about the recovery process. For the last 17 years, the Portuguese has witnessed the behaviours and machinations of those coming back from injury and there is clearly something in the way Zlatan is going about his business that encourages him.