Bermudian striker Jonté Smith, who left English League Two club Cheltenham Town at the end of last season, faces up to three more months on the sidelines after returning to the Gloucestershire outfit to complete his rehabilitation from serious injury.
Smith, the 26-year-old son of former Bermuda national cricket coach Clay Smith, suffered ankle ligament damage during the first half of the play-off semi-final second leg against Northampton Town at Cheltenham’s Jonny-Rocks Stadium on June 22.
Cheltenham lost the game 3-0 after winning the away leg 2-0.
Smith scored four goals in six starts for the club—including a hat-trick against West Ham United Under-21s in an English Football League Trophy match—and made 12 substitute appearances after joining at the start of September last year.
He will now be supervised by Cheltenham’s medical staff Gavin Crowe and James Redman as he continues to recover.
“It was a significant injury in four parts,” Crowe said.
“There was damage to the deltoid ligament, and anterior talofibular ligament, along with syndesmosis and a medial knee ligament element, too. Jonté will be back with us until he’s fit.”
Smith was released at the end of last season and was the subject of interest from several clubs including Macclesfield Town, Woking and Ebbsfleet United.
But the well-traveled Smith’s hopes of securing a contract have been put on hold because of the injury and he could take another two to three months to make a full recovery, according to sources at Cheltenham.
Smith, whose former UK clubs include Crawley Town, Oxford United, Lewes, Gloucester City and the Metropolitan Police, wore an immobility boot for more than a week after leaving the Northampton game on crutches.
He has just spent two weeks working intensively on his rehabilitation with physio Daniel Kett at St George’s Park as part of the Professional Footballers’ Association Gamechanger Performance program, helping him make strides towards fitness.