Newcastle Knights winger James McManus has had his 2014 season cut short due to a foot injury.
“Initially it was what we thought was turf toe, that’s a swelling in the joint or an inflammation,” he explains.
“I’ve probably had that from about Round 9 or 10.
“It gradually got worse and worse and I was getting pain killer injections just to get through games.
“Eventually the painkiller injections weakened the joint and weakened the ligaments around it, so I ended up with a tear in the ligament that runs underneath my big toe.
“I couldn’t run with it anymore so I put it in the boot and had to wait eight weeks for it to knit back together.
“It’s been a frustrating way to end a frustrating year I guess.”
For now, McManus wears a moon boot to allow the injury to heal and expects to be back training in the pre-season.
“I’ll be looking to train all through the off season to make sure I start the pre-season really well,” McManus said.
“I didn’t get that last year after having surgery, I didn’t really train much until after Christmas.
“It will be good to start a pre-season in November and start the season well."
Although frustrated by his season-ending injury, McManus reveals the his recovery has been made easier because of an exciting time off the field.
“My wife’s expecting our first, it’s due in late October, so I’m really excited,” he said.
“I guess, as hard as I’m doing it with my foot, she’s lugging around a big tummy at the moment so I can’t really complain too much.
“It’s going to be a big change at the end of the year and is going to be a great thing, I can’t wait."
Injuries have tested the Knights depth frequently throughout the season, with McManus praising the talent of young players like Jake Mamo and Chanel Mata’utia who have stepped up to fill his position.
“It’s been great, it’s good to know that you can miss football and not let the team down,” he said.
“If someone is coming up that’s capable of doing the job and a good job, then if you do have to take a couple of weeks rest for an injury, then the team’s not going to have to miss out heaps on not having you there.
“I guess sometimes you play through injuries, not wanting to let everyone down.
“That’s probably what has led to me being out for so long, I probably played with an injury I needed to give a couple of week’s rest.
“It’s one of those things, in the year that we’re having, you wanted to play as much as you could and train as much as you could.
“It’s good to see the boys do well.
“I spent a lot of time with them in the off season and just to their progression is really good.
“They still have a few things to work on, but they are doing a great job so it’s good to see the future of the Club is in great hands.
They’re going to be leaders in the Club in six or seven years time and one hundred game sort of players.
“It will be good to see how far they go.”