Bulgarian setter Georgi Bratoev has undergone surgery on his right foot after an MRI revealed a long crack that was missed by the original X-Rays. He is expected to begin rehab on July 23rd, a week after the Bulgarian team gathers to begin preparations for the World Championships, which they co-host with Italy from September 9th-30th.
Bratoev initially returned to the Bulgarian side within 3 weeks of his initial injury, which happened when he stepped on another player’s foot in a loss to Australia. Trainers initially feared it might be a fracture, but an X-Ray was thought to reveal only a strain. Bratoev still felt pain on the court 3 weeks after the injury, leading him to an MRI and the revelation of the fracture in his foot, which is not-uncommon with these sorts of ankle injuries.
While Bratoev’s surgery is not good news, it’s not the worst news, as he’s expected to be available for the World Championships. The same is true for Todor Skrimov, who injured his calf in a match with France on June 15th; and Nikolay Nikolov, who suffered an abdominal injury in training. Both are expected to return to the team for the start of their World Championship preparations in Sofia.
Amidst the injuries, Bulgaria finished this year’s inaugural edition of the Volleyball Nations League with a 6-9 record, which left them 11th out of 16 teams and out of the Final 6.