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Harry Noble on the way back from anterior cruciate ligament operation but wait for NHS surgery made Deveronvale defender wonder if he would resume Highland League football career

By Craig Christie

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HARRY Noble waited nine months for knee surgery, and the Deveronvale defender will have to sit out the same period of time before he returns to the field.

Harry Noble (right) can’t wait for a return to the pitch next term following his knee surgery.
Harry Noble (right) can’t wait for a return to the pitch next term following his knee surgery.

But just being on the road to recovery is good news for the 26-year-old former Buckie Thistle player.

Noble hurt his left knee just after Christmas last year, and received the diagnosis that he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and would need an operation.

With NHS surgery lists painfully long during Covid-19, Noble endured the long wait and began to wonder if he would be able to resurrect his Highland League career.

But he was finally given the date of September 22 to go under the knife, and the op has been successful so far and given him a course to plot for a return to action next season.

“They take a tendon out of my hamstring and replace the ACL so it’s basically a graft,” he said.

“It has been frustrating. It was quite a bad injury and I was thinking if I’m going to be waiting as long, am I even going to be playing again?

"I didn’t want to be coming back and doing it again, but now that football is back and I’m back watching, there’s no way I can’t return as I’m missing it too much.”

Noble has been supported by current and past team-mates who went through the same surgery. Vale stopper Kevin Adams and striker Dane Ballard both got the op done in the past as did ex-Vale man Colin Charlesworth, who joined Huntly earlier this year and is currently in rehabilitation having had the surgery during the summer.

“I’ve been speaking to Coco (Charlesworth) in particular, whose operation was not too long before mine. He has been giving me a heads-up of what happens and what he’s been going through. I kind of knew from his situation what has been happening and that helps a lot, and it was the same physio who diagnosed him as well.

“I’m beginning to see improvements already.

"After the op I couldn’t even lift my leg, I’ve got four small scars on my knee and it feels when you lift your leg like all the pressure is coming from the scars.

“I couldn’t do anything without howling in pain, but in less than two weeks that pain has kind of gone and I can put my weight on the leg now.

"So I’m hopeful that it’s all going to go smoothly.”

He admits he is a bad spectator but has forced himself to watch most of Vale’s games this season.

“I would think it would be pre-season next year when I get back. It’s meant to be six to nine months depending on how it goes, probably towards nine months.

“If I was doing well it would be towards the end of the season anyway and I would rather wait until next season and not leave anything to chance.”

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