PAUL Wood is likely to miss the opening four weeks of the 2014 Super League season after undergoing a knee operation.
The 32-year-old prop was hit with the unwelcome news just 10 days into pre-season training, meaning that he has spent much of Wolves’ Australian training camp watching from the sidelines.
The prop has expressed his frustration that the extent of the injury did not show sooner.
“Towards the back end of last season I was having some problems with my knee, but on the scan it only came up as some bone bruising,” he said.
“So I rested it in the off-season and when I came back I expected everything to be hunky dory. But after 10 days it was getting worse, so I had a scan and it showed an increase in the bone bruising.
“The surgeon went in and I needed a micro-fracture operation, putting tiny fractures in my knee to stimulate the cartilage to grow back, because my knee cap was rubbing against the bone of my knee.
“It delayed things a bit, which is frustrating because it means I could have done a bit more out here in Australia if we could have got it sorted earlier.”
While he jokes about being ‘on holiday with my sun tan lotion’, there are serious implications of Wood’s inability to get stuck in with the rest while based in Coogee, Sydney.
The quality of the work his colleagues are doing means that the Wigan-born forward will face a slog to attain their fitness levels when he returns to full training.
Though he does feel there is one, big positive about the situation.
“I have made it quite clear that I am glad I don’t have to do the sand dunes or the Coogee steps,” he joked about two of the toughest endurance tests. “Some of the sessions I have watched I’ve been happy to miss! But really you want to be out there.
“All the lads are looking fit and sharp against these NRL teams in training. I’m going to have to train very hard to get back to standard, because I’ve been off my legs since the Grand Final almost.
“So watching the guys get so fit has been annoying, though I have been able to do a lot of work on my upper body and recover from a few niggling injuries that I’ve been carrying. I’m not panicking. I’ve been through enough pre-seasons to know what I need to do to get back to where I need to be.”