DRILLING one of your bones in order to remedy an injury might not sound an appealing prospect, but it’s worked wonders for Newcastle Falcons full-back Jeremy Manning.
Even though the Falcons didn’t have the best of seasons, Manning’s performances showed more than enough chinks of light to suggest that the future may be brighter for the long-suffering Kingston Park faithful.
However, the previous campaign had an unwelcome recurring theme – injuries. Falcons players at various stages were dropping like flies, with the treatment room competing with the local casualty ward as to who had the most crocks.
Unfortunately for Manning, he was not immune from all of this as he sustained a hip injury in the match against Harlequins back in March.
A month later, the Kiwi attempted to stoically soldier on but aggravated the injury against Leeds where the decision to put him under the surgeon’s knife was taken. And as Manning himself reveals, the process involved would have those of a nervous disposition fainting in their droves.
He said: “The surgeon used something called a micro-fracture technique which involved him drilling into the bone. The reason for this was to make it bleed in order for a new cartilage to be formed.
“I can appreciate how it sounds a bit gruesome on first hearing it and I admit it was a bit daunting.
“However, once the surgeon explained the full process involved and how beneficial this procedure would be, I was happy to go through with it.
“The operation took a bit longer than expected and it was only supposed to last less than 90 minutes but it ended up taking about four-and-a-half-hours.
“However, the surgeon was really chuffed with what he had done and he expects me to make a full recovery in good time. I’m happy with it and I’m half walking about with the aid of crutches at the moment.
“Basically I’m on the fast track to recovery. The hip is healing well, the swelling is down, the pain is gone and my movement is getting better each day. I can’t put any weight on it as I’m under surgeon’s orders to do that in order to let the rehabilitation process carry on but I’m delighted with how things have gone.
“When it, the injury, happened, I just tried to carry on as rugby players don’t like being operated on. But I struggled in the last few games I played and something had to be done.”
Manning now has a September return in mind, but while the recovery process is going well, even during the close-season, the full-back is the typical frustrated player on the sidelines.
He added: “People can say that one good thing is that I’m missing the strains of the pre-season which is tough but truth be told, I love all that stuff. I like pushing my body to the limit in the gym and on the pitch, so while the other guys will be working hard to get their fitness levels ready for the start of the new season, I’ll be on the sidelines frustrated in not being out there.
“As for my return, I reckon September is a likely date. The only thing is I don’t know if it will be in the beginning of that month or the end or even the middle. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, The Journal understands that the club are very close to securing South African prop forward Ashley Wells’ services for next season.
With neither party yet to comment further, negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage and it is understood that an announcement will be due soon.
However, the rumours of South African full-back Conrad Jantjes signing for the Falcons are false according to a club spokesman.
Elsewhere, Leicester Tigers are set to confirm today that former Falcons duo, Micky Young and Kieran Brookes, will sign for the Welford Road side.