Lockyer return will be tough, says Noddy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer return will be tough, says Noddy

Ian McCullough 18/09/2011 04:03:26 PM Comments (0)

Brett Kimmorley believes it'll be tough for Darren Lockyer to face Manly in Friday's NRL preliminary final, less than a week after smashing his cheekbone.

Lockyer had surgery to insert three titanium plates in his face on Sunday morning after being accidentally caught by the knee of teammate Gerard Beale in the Broncos' 13-12 golden-point win over St George Illawarra on Saturday.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin said on Sunday he was confident his skipper, who kicked the winning field goal against the Dragons, would be available for the Sydney Football Stadium showdown and might wear a protective mask.

Kimmorley underwent a similar operation two years ago following a collision with Warriors centre Jerome Ropati.

The former halfback missed two games and also had the benefit of a free weekend before facing Parramatta for a place in the 2009 grand final.

Although he insists it will be hard for Lockyer to recuperate in time to face Manly, the immediacy of the operation gives him a chance.

"Getting back after a week is going to be pretty tough, but he has had the surgery straight away and that will help a little bit," Kimmorley told AAP.

"Five days is not a lot of time for recovery, but I suppose it is do or die and if the surgery has gone well and there is not a lot of swelling, then maybe he is a chance.

"I was on painkillers for about 24 hours after my operation, and there was numbness from where they moved a lot of the nerves to put in the plates.

"Darren will have a lot of swelling for a few days but, once the fluid goes away, you are OK and the pain goes away."

Despite the severity of the injury, the former Melbourne and Cronulla star gave Lockyer reasons to be optimistic by claiming the post-operation pain is worse than taking a knock on the cheek during a game.

"The pain after the surgery is quite uncomfortable, but the fact you know it is fixed gives you a fair bit of relief and the pain eases pretty quickly," he said.

"It was quite sore and tender when I got a knock on it during a game, but it was not too bad.

"The toughness Darren showed last night proved he can take pain.

"But it was his last ever game at Suncorp so maybe that emotion got him through."

Kimmorley played down any notions of Manly trying to target Lockyer, and said the Queensland and Australian skipper's confidence would be boosted by his surgeon.

"My surgeon assured me that by having the plates, I'd be fine and stronger than the other side of my face, and Darren's will have told him the same," he said.

"You have to believe what the surgeon says ... so the fear factor about the injury isn't there any more because you know it's been repaired."

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