Ciraldo putting horror injury behind him - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ciraldo putting horror injury behind him

By Ian McCullough 26/03/2010 02:04:20 PM Comments (0)

It was the injury that left TV viewers covering their eyes, but one year on from suffering a fractured fibula and badly dislocated ankle, Newcastle's Cameron Ciraldo makes his NRL return against Manly on Saturday.

The 25-year-old backrower had been warned by his surgeon that he may never play again, but a combination of hard work and refusal to give in has been rewarded with a place on the Knights' interchange bench for the clash at Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium.

And although he has still not watched vision of the incident where his foot got caught underneath a ruck against Cronulla in round two last year, Ciraldo is desperate to be remembered for his on-field ability instead of the injury that threatened his career.

"It has been a long time ... so when I get out on the field and take my first pass it will put the whole thing behind me and give me a bit of closure," he told AAP.

Ciraldo admitted there had been some dark days on the road to recovery, but the result has left him more excited about Saturday's game than he was ahead of his first grade debut for Cronulla in 2005.

"I couldn't see light at the end of the tunnel at times but I just stuck at it, and I'm glad I did ... it's a very satisfying feeling knowing I will be playing at the weekend," he said.

He has prepared himself to face an abrasive Manly pack with a thorough pre-season and hit-outs in a trial match against Penrith and for the Knights' reserve grade side.

And despite admitting the intensity levels will be a lot higher in the NRL, Ciraldo said he has no fears about his leg standing up to the test.

"We have had a simulated game every Friday and that was good to get the rust off and I am ready to go," he said.

"There were some butterflies in the stomach when I hit my first tackle, but I am well past that now."

And in addition to giving him a second chance, the hours of rehab have also presented him with a new outlook on life.

"This feels like my second debut and it has certainly given me new perspective on things," Ciraldo said.

"Before my injury all I did was focus on footy and not much else. I have managed to spend a year watching my daughter grow up and that has been one good thing to come out of it."

And while he braces himself for his long-awaited return, Ciraldo said his thoughts were with close friend, Cronulla second-rower Reece Williams who underwent a second operation in less than a year on Wednesday to remove a blood clot from his back.

"We played together at Cronulla and I am great mates with him and when you see him going through something like that it puts things into perspective," he said.

"I hope he can also make a full recovery and get back out there playing soon."

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