Tom Johnson: Enforced lay-off may focus mind and body
Injury is part and parcel of the game, and from my point of view, I'm being quite philosophical about the one that happened to me on Saturday against Leinster. I think that's the best way to be.
Having seen the footage, and having looked at it with the physios, we know it could have been a lot, lot worse.
A couple of the boys who saw it at the time have told me they were pretty shocked. When I looked down, the image that's imprinted on my mind is pretty scary. The boys have said that they heard me make a bit of noise to begin with, so they knew something was up.
It's one of those injuries that you talk about but hope it never happens. Unfortunately it happened to me. We always touch a bit of wood whenever we discuss the subject, and now you know why.
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Sadly for me it looks like the Six Nations is going to come too soon, but you have to count your blessings. I've just read that my fellow England back-rower Calum Clark is out for an indefinite amount of time with a shoulder injury, so at least I've got some sort of time frame in mind.
Basically, in my case, the ligaments are pretty much ruptured, or come away from the bone, so the cure for that is going to involve a lot of rest.
I've got to get it iced, which we do with a machine called Game Ready, which is basically an ice machine that comes with a knee adaptor which pumps ice-cold water around it. It's a pretty good piece of equipment for getting rid of swelling.
The technology in general is getting advanced these days, but the medical assistance I got pitch-side was really first-class. They got me a bit of oxygen to take the initial pain away, but I think to start with it was more shock.
When your knee goes at such an unnatural angle it's always pretty alarming and looks horrendous. I remember looking down and seeing my foot stuck in the ground and my knee go down. The sound that I can still hear of the ligaments crunching off as my knee gave way and fell in on itself... It makes me cringe even now.
One of the Leinster players just held their leg at an awkward angle as they were clearing me out, then someone else came in over the top of my leg. If they'd fallen any other way it would have been fine, but they fell back on to my knee unfortunately. It was just one of those things.
When I fell to the ground I wouldn't anyone touch my knee to start with. I was just convinced I'd look down there and see it just hanging off.
A few of the Leinster boys came over to say, 'hard luck'. No one would wish anyone any harm in the game, and that's one of the things that's so good about it.
But I know I'll be well looked after, the physios will gradually get me back up and running. We have got a very good physio team at Exeter, so I couldn't be in better hands. I've just got to make sure I don't get on their backs too much.
I could be in there every day, demanding to be treated, but they have a whole squad to look after as well.
Wanting to get back, though, means badgering the phyios constantly, so they are probably going to get an earful, unfortunately for them.
I do feel a bit sorry for them. With the doctors, we tend to do exactly what they say, so if we're going to moan we do it to the physios. They do tend to cop a bit of grief.
Having a fraction of the time out I thought I might have could even turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I've had three full seasons, pretty much back to back, without much rest, with the summer tours I've been on and so on.
This feels like my body is just saying, 'enough's enough' and that I should look after it and make sure I get it right again, have a rest, get stronger and fitter and quicker.
It might help me focus on myself a little bit. Before it happened there was the Six Nations, summer tours, all sorts of things to think about. Now I've got this one focus, which is to get back into a Chiefs shirt as soon as I can.
This is going to be the longest lay-off I've ever had, though. I had about four weeks off when I broke my hand but nothing like this before.
I have got a Wii, but I don't really play it, although I have just gone and got Super Mario. And luckily my girlfriend has been looking after me like an absolute trooper, waiting on me hand and foot. I've been a nightmare and she's been absolutely brilliant.
I just hope the library has got some good books to keep me sane...