By Ben Dinnery

26th Nov, 2021 | 5:00pm

Injury expert: Calvert-Lewin 'nowhere near' Everton return and neither are two of his key teammates

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is “nowhere near” to an Everton comeback – and that may be why Rafael Benitez has overhauled the medical department.

So says injury expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis.

It was widely reported earlier this month that the Toffees had dismissed the head of their medical department, Dan Donachie.

Speaking in his press conference on 19 November, Benitez said: “Yes, I can confirm. We would [like to] manage the department in another way.”

Star striker Calvert-Lewin has been out since August, initially with a fractured toe and later a thigh injury.

And Dinnery claims that inadequate return-to-play timelines in cases like Calvert-Lewin’s could have been Donachie’s downfall.

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“You’re never privy to fully understand what’s going on behind closed doors,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“Rafa originally said they are always looking for small margins in departments and he thought he could go in a new direction.

“He later referenced the number of injuries they have had. Medical departments are often reactionary. The player suffers an injury and we react.

“It’s the physios that are working with the players on a day to day basis and managing their loads.

“Medical teams can, however, be judged on return-to-play timelines and injury recurrence rates.

“Andre Gomes had what was reported as a minor calf injury back in September but we still haven’t seen him.

“We of course had the incidence with Calvert-Lewin. We thought that was going to be four or five weeks but he doesn’t appear to be anywhere near.

“Yerry Mina is the latest with a minor hamstring issue. He wasn’t involved in game week 12 even though we fully expected him to be.

“That’s a worry. In terms of days lost to injury, Everton have already lost over a year collectively.”

Calvert-Lewin had three goals in as many games before his setback at the start of the season.

Everton are now winless in their last six matches and have sunk to 11th in the league table.

In other news, pundit predicts when Everton will “bite the bullet” and sack Rafael Benitez.