NASTY SETBACK: Leading player's future in limbo
INJURED Norths skipper Mark Pocock has deliberately kept his serious setback low-key in the hope of playing again.
However, one of Ipswich's most respected and highly regarded hockey players concedes his season may be over.
"It's just playing by ear and following what my physio says,'' Pocock said.
"It (no more hockey this year) is probably something that has crossed my mind.''
Turning 36 in November, Pocock is unsure if and when he can play hockey again.
"I'm just waiting to see what happens at the moment,'' he said.
The long-serving Norths leader, Ipswich captain, Queensland Country player and South West Queensland representative has just had a full brace removed from his right leg.
He had his knee cap smashed from a direct hit earlier this season.
"It pretty well absorbed everything and just snapped it in half,'' he said.
The nasty injury occurred with about 10 minutes to go playing against Easts in the Ipswich A Grade competition.
Somehow Pocock managed to finish the match at Raceview.
"It was only after sitting in the dressing room and putting some ice on it that it all swelled up,'' the seasoned sportsman said.
"By the next day, I couldn't walk on it and I realised that something was seriously wrong.''
Then, with only a week to go wearing his brace, Pocock slipped over in the rain and copped another knock on the problem area.
"I've been in the wars,'' he said.
For an Ipswich player who rarely gets injured, Pocock had a rare situation to contend with.
He said a broken nose that needed surgery earlier in his terrific career kept him sidelined for a while. But such a hefty blow to the knee cap is different.
"I normally don't get injured too much,'' he said. "Just unlucky (this time).''
Pocock was relieved to finally have the brace removed so he can step up rehab.
"At the moment, it's still all swollen and locked up,'' he said.
"Even with the brace off, I can't really bend past 90 degrees.
"It was pretty good with it locked up until I fell on it.''
He's got another orthopaedic appointment on Friday to determine where he goes from here.
"They check over everything, how it's healing and I think it gets re-X-rayed,'' he said.
"From there I just continue with physio.
"I've still got some rehab to go before I can put too much weight on my legs.''
The former Barry Dancer Award for Excellence winner was keen to regain some strength.
"That leg now where the muscle was above the knee has all just wasted away,'' he said.
He's cautious about trying to return too soon.
"If I just get another hit to it when it's in that healing phase, it's something that you can't really risk,'' he said.
As he ponders his playing future, Pocock is appreciative of the support he's received from wife Rikki, family and his colleagues in the Ipswich Electrical Safety Office.
"Work has been really good with it all,'' the senior electrical safety inspector said. "They've put me on light duties.
"I can't thank them enough for what they've done.''