MASHONALAND Eagles fast bowler Lovemore Manatsa yesterday begun a rehabilitation programme to treat a back injury that has kept him out of the game for the last two months. The promising cricketer has been recovering on the sidelines since November when he was pulled out of the four-day game against Mountaineers in Mutare after suffering a lower back stress reaction.
Manatsa however, would need probably another month before he can return to the field of play. The 21-year old is hoping to make a comeback ahead of the Twenty20 final scheduled for February 10.
Eagles booked their place when they sealed a top spot finish with a 46-run victory over Mid West Rhinos at the weekend.
"I think I was very lucky because the problem had not developed to fearful levels. Usually a stress reaction comes before a stress fracture, which is more severe and can keep a person out for a longer period like one year or more, like what happened to Elton (Chigumbura) at one time.
"So the fact that it's not a fracture means I will be back soon. Hopefully by the beginning of next month I should be testing to see if I could start bowling again. My wish is to play in the T20 final and the Stanbic Bank Series," said Manatsa.
Stress reactions and fractures in the back are common with pace bowlers and Manatsa's teammate at Eagles Chigumbura was forced to sit out most of the 2005 season because of the back problem.
In fact the former Zimbabwe skipper's career was set back by the injury that reduced his ability to bowl fast.
Eagles will resume their campaign in the Pro50 Championship this morning when they face Matabeleland Tuskers at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
The Harare side, who have been affected the most by the wet weather patterns, will be praying that rains do not play havoc again today.
Steve Mangongo's men have had three matches being abandoned, including the previous home game against log leaders Mid West Rhinos which lasted just under 10 overs before the rains intervened at the weekend.
Eagles, playing in their last round robin match, would need to win the match today to seal a berth in the One-day final set for later this month.