IT'S a sportsperson's worst nightmare. Breaking two bones in a leg above the ankle that needs a rod to hold the structures together.
The pain is excruciating. It hurts to even hobble to the toilet.
Everything is a struggle.
But for Ipswich footballer Stuart Hinks, the latest setback has provided added torment. It's the second time he's broken two bones in the same leg.
The popular midfielder was making his Brisbane Premier League debut for Brisbane Force when the tackle went horribly wrong.
No one was to blame. It was simply a nasty collision at full pace.
Hinks, 31, collided heavily with an Albany Creek defender.
His right leg was broken above the ankle and he needed surgery at Royal Brisbane Hospital where a plate and pin were inserted.
The former Ipswich Knights player had to wait three days to get operated on so busy were the surgeons.
Incredibly, the injury brought back memories of another nasty moment eight years ago.
Hinks was working horses at Ipswich racetrack for his father Stuart when he broke the same bone "in the exact same spot".
"A horse reared over the top of me when I was breaking one in," he said.
The frightened horse crashed onto his leg.
It was five months before he could ride a horse again.
In his latest injury setback, Hinks will not know when he can play football again until his next assessment.
The pain Ipswich footballer Stu Hinks experienced tells him it was a rare incident in a 27-year football career.
"It was 50/50 and we both come in hard," he said.
"He just caught me a little bit high where I broke it last time and just got me on a soft spot."
Having played since he was four, the former Coalstars midfielder had made hundreds of similar tackles without incident.
"I've never had any problems (in the past) but I knew straight away this time that I'd done a good job on it again," he said.
Booval-based Hinks has been stuck on the couch since his surgery.
"I can't do anything yet," he said.
"I sit up for five minutes and the swelling just goes straight down me leg."
Hinks said his knee was particularly sore after having the pin inserted.
"I was going to try and get to the Knights game and the Force game (last weekend) but it's just throbbing," he said.
The Ipswich footballer joined Force in the pre-season to try his luck in the Brisbane Premier League.
After being made welcome, the fitness fanatic was just getting ready for a big season when the shattering setback occurred at Albany Creek.
"I'm disappointed but all the boys at the Force passed the hat around for me and keep in regular touch with me," he said.
"They've been really good down there and hopefully I'll be able to come back the last couple of games.
"I shouldn't have any dramas. I didn't when I done it the first time.
"This time, the rod will stay in."
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