Upbeat Jane holds out slim hope of playing
Cory Jane managed to smile and greet the media with a flamboyant wave of his crutches on Tuesday as he hobbled down the stairs at the Wellington Hurricanes training venue to discuss the knee injury that could keep him out of rugby for the entire year.
The All Blacks winger ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during pre-season training almost two weeks ago, just days after he had returned to the side.
The 30-year-old will not rush his recovery but still holds a slim hope of playing rugby again this year.
"It's not too bad, I can walk on it," he said, the metallic brace around his right knee squeaking whenever he moved. "Once surgery has done I have to get in here and work hard with the physios and doctors and get the recovery right."
Surgeons will wait until the swelling on his knee subsides before going in to take a look at the damage. Only then will they be able to put a time frame on his return to rugby.
While he has no chance of returning during the Super Rugby season, Jane initially hoped he would be available for the All Blacks' end-of-season tour to Europe.
"There are quite a lot of people who have done it (recovered from his type of injury)," Jane said, mentioning that Australian flyhalf Quade Cooper suffered a similar injury at the 2011 World Cup. "I'm hoping I can play a little bit of rugby this year, but that's if it goes well.
"You've just got to be smart on how you do it after surgery when you come back. I'll take my time.
"I've spoken to the Hurricanes coaches and the All Blacks coaches and they've said 'just take your time', so I'll do that."
'PART OF THE GAME'
The 2011 World Cup winner's injury occurred in seemingly innocuous fashion, though he knew almost immediately the damage was serious.
"It was light training, not even full drills. I went to get the ball off the halfback and made a step and slipped a little bit, then someone got me from the other side and I just fell over," Jane said of the incident at Paraparaumu, about 45 kilometres north of Wellington on January 31.
"I knew straight away that something was bad. I felt like my knee was hanging out. It wasn't, but ... I had kind of prepared myself for how bad it might be.
"While it was bad, I had prepped for it so I knew how to handle it. At the moment, I'm upbeat. I'm not depressed. That's part of the game. You get injuries."
While he enjoyed watching rugby on television, Jane said he often felt frustrated because he was not able to contribute, though the birth of his fourth child in a few weeks should help keep his mind off his recovery.
"I've got a new baby due in a few weeks and ... the wife looks like she's got triplets," Jane said with a grin.
"We've got three other crazy kids running around so the house is full on.
"I'm trying to rest but I feel bad for her because she's knackered so it has been hectic at the moment.