Grant McCann is backing Angus MacDonald to make his long-awaited return to action in 2020 after the Hull City defender was given the all-clear in his battle against bowel cancer.
MacDonald has undergone two operations in the last three months after his initial diagnosis in September and this week received the news that all signs of cancer have now been removed.
The 27-year-old was at City’s training ground yesterday to share the news with staff and players and he is now free to target a comeback in the second half of the Championship season.
The Tigers will not place any pressure on MacDonald once he re-joins the fold next month but McCann is sure the centre-back can end his long spell on the sidelines.
“He’ll be back playing,” said McCann. “For him to have come through what he’s come through, this is the easy part now I think.
“We’re delighted for him because it must’ve been a tough time for him and his family. For him to come through it just shows you the mental strength and capabilities of him.
“The easy part is getting back fit, up to speed, and ready to play again.
“We hope that’s sooner rather than later but we can’t rush it. He’s still a way off but the sense of him as a character shows that this is the easy part getting back.”
MacDonald’s career was placed on hold when he was diagnosed with the early stages of cancer three and a half months ago and two operations have since involved the removal of his large bowel.
City have granted MacDonald time away from the club throughout that spell and have again encouraged the defender to spend the festive period at home recovering with his family.
The first step back towards playing will come in January as the club’s medical team draw up a plan for his return to action but MacDonald’s long spell out ensures he cannot be hurried.
The former Barnsley man has not featured at all since August 2018 after missing most of last season when deep vein thrombosis was discovered in his calf.
That condition was overcome when he was allowed to resume full training earlier this term but any hope of a comeback was dismissed when the first signs of cancer were detected by the club’s doctors.
McCann, though, says MacDonald’s spirits have never been affected.
“We haven’t seen him much because of all that’s gone on but when he’s come in he’s always had a smile on his face, never down. When I text him he’s always really positive,” he said.
“Every time the boys see him they walk over and give him a hug. Those little things after all he’s been through, it must’ve given him a big sense of belief that he could get through this.
“He and his family have stood strong and he’s got his rewards for it.”
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