Titans five-eighth Kane Elgey has opened up on the sternum injury that literally took his breath away and the damage caused by the knee of giant Warriors winger Ken Maumalo as he waits another week before returning to the NRL.
Elgey attempted to make a tackle on Maumalo midway through the second half of their Round 14 encounter and in so doing copped the knee of the 105-kilogram powerhouse directly in the centre of his chest, the damage caused later compared to that of being involved in a car crash.
In addition to deep bruising and damage to the cartilage that sits behind the sternum Elgey suffered cracks in two ribs that made sleeping next to impossible in the days following the injury.
Forced to try and sleep sitting up and drink only cups of tea, sneezing and coughing caused the 23-year-old all sorts of pain over the course of the weekend before scans on the Monday after the game revealed the full extent of the damage.
Unable to train for basically two weeks, Elgey said he is happy to now be back out and training with the team but told NRL.com that the pain over the first few days was unlike anything he has experienced in his rugby league career to date.
"I knew it straight away. I copped a knee straight in the middle of my chest, full force into my sternum and I knew something happened," said Elgey, who suffered a ruptured ACL last January that ended his 2016 season before it began.
"I couldn't breathe. As soon as it happened I lost my breath for a good 30 seconds.
"I played on for another 15 minutes and made a couple of tackles in extreme pain. We were down by about 16 points so the physio ended up saying to come off because he knew as well.
"I've had rib cartilage before and it's painful but this was next level.
"I reckon it's the worst injury I've had. Not in terms of how long I've been out of the game but pain-wise and everyday stuff."
Titans coach Neil Henry on Tuesday named Tyrone Roberts to partner Ashley Taylor in the halves against the Sharks and given their win together against the Dragons last start another victory could make them hard to break up.
Gold Coast's Round 20 clash with the Panthers will mark six weeks since Elgey suffered the injury and although he is hopeful of being available is resigned to playing the rest of the season in some pain.
"I did a bit of tackling [on Tuesday] and it's not going to go away," said Elgey, who experiences discomfort when running and passing and in particular wrestling.
"I'm going to be playing with pain for the rest of the year but it's one of those things where the longer you wait the better it's going to be.
"Six weeks is probably the right thing. I'm hoping to try and play next week, that's the goal.
"Most players do play with the cartilage so after the 4-6 weeks I think I'm fine."
Elgey isn't the only injury concern for the Titans at present with back-rower Chris McQueen continuing to be troubled by a neck complaint.
McQueen hasn't played since Round 15 against the Rabbitohs and Henry said it will be at least another week before he is able to be considered for selection.
"He'll have to get a cortisone injection and see how it settles down. It's been ongoing for him," Henry said.
"We're hoping that it settles. It's nothing that's going to keep him out for another month but at the moment it's not good enough to do contact so he'd be at least another game away.
"He had a problem there before and then he stirred it up in the game and then he hurt it again at training.
"It's responding to treatment and he was running around at training but he's on restricted duties with contact.
"Until he gets that confidence of being back in full contact we can't risk him."