Gold Coast Titans forward Ryan James will revisit specialists on Monday after suffering a reoccurrence of his anterior cruciate ligament injury during training on Friday, to get a full diagnosis on the injury, his treatment and recovery.
Initial scans on Friday indicated James has again damaged the ACL he tore in Round 6 last year, an injury that ended his season.
James said the disappointing news was taking “a while to absorb” after feeling buoyant about his recovery ahead of the 2020 season.
“It is obviously pretty devastating, after all that hard work, time away from the team and time off the field to be back to square one again,” James said. “It was hard enough to have to watch on last year and feel helpless while the team struggled.
“This year, I was looking forward to playing again and being part of a good year with the Titans after a really good off-season with the Club. Now I will be missing that as well.
“It was more a shock than anything. I had been really cautious and deliberate with every part of the rehab, and I was really happy with how it had responded. I had told more than one person that I was at the stage where I was not even thinking about the knee anymore at training.
“It was moving freely and I felt really confident in it. It just felt back to normal.
“When it happened, there was a bit of pain, but not the same as the last time it went. It felt different, so I was hopeful it might have been a different issue, or minor damage relating to the surgery. But the scans on Friday came back with the worst news.
“I will be back to see the specialists on Monday for more scans, and to discuss what my options are from here. Once we find out what needs to be done, I can get to work again.
“It will take a while to absorb, I think. It is disappointing, especially for my wife and my family. But the love and support I have had from them and everyone at the Club has made it easier to deal with.”
Gold Coast Titans Head Coach Justin Holbrook said while disappointed for James and the Club, the 28-year-old would remain a key part of the Titans’ 2020 campaign.
“I really feel for Ryan. Anyone who has met Ryan knows him to be one of the nicest, most humble men in our game,” Holbrook said. “I was looking forward to him playing a big part in our team this season.
“Ryan will now play a key role with us off the field, as he will still add value to our team and our Club.
“He holds a special place at the Titans and among our fans, because he is a Bilambil junior who came all the way through our system to captain the Titans and is so widely respected for who he is as a player and person
“The reaction to the news of Ryan’s injury on Friday, not just from Gold Coast supporters but around the league, was the best indicator of the respect everyone in rugby league has for Ryan.
“You never like to see any player in the NRL suffer an injury like this, but for someone like Ryan to have had the same injury twice in less than a year is particularly cruel.
“Once he gets the latest advice from his specialists on Monday, we will get an idea of what is involved for Ryan’s journey ahead and we will support him through it.”