With the new season fast approaching, most of the squad are now up to speed after a good preseason. However, there are a few who have been nursing themselves back to fitness and are eager to get their own preparations underway for the new season in National One.
Keifer Laxton was cementing his place in the side last season when he picked up an injury to his knee playing against Hull. Laxton, who made 20 appearances for Cambridge last season said; “I got my leg trapped and played on for about twenty-five minutes, then I thought something’s wrong with my knee here. It just blew up and I couldn’t run anymore. I tore the cartilage and that got trapped in the joint. In terms of recovery, I had to have an operation 11 weeks ago to fix the cartilage in my knee, and to get rid of a few remnants of old bone.”
Laxton hopes to be back sooner rather than later, but insists he is taking his time to ensure a full recovery; “After the op, I was back on my feet pretty quickly, but for the sake of a few preseason games, I don’t want to rush my return. I’m taking things slowly to make sure I don’t injure it further, I don’t want to be out for the rest of the year.”
Another first-team regular from last season currently battling his way back to fitness after serious injury is Cameron Ruddock. Ruddock suffered a dislocated knee and a broken ankle after getting cleared out from a ruck. His studs got stuck in the turf which caused the injury. Ruddock has had surgery on the ankle, but the knee just needed time to recover.
Ruddock feels he has been recuperating well and said; “I’m going to miss all the preseason fixtures, but I hope to be back after the first few games of the season. It’s been really tough watching the lads in preseason and I’m itching to get back now.”
Asked about the support from his teammates, Ruddock said; “All the lads have been really supportive. Ean (Griffiths) has had some serious injuries he’s recovered from in the past, and if it’s come up in conversation, he’s told me to keep my head down and do the rehab, it is slow, but very necessary.”
Ruddock is also challenging himself to be mentally fit. If you’ve seen him play at Volac Park before, you will know that for a hooker, he is extremely quick and agile; a real threat with ball in hand, and he wants to make sure he can return and offer the same threat as before.
He said; “I think to myself in my head, am I running properly? Am I doing it right? I’m hoping I haven’t lost any pace. So far, I’ve done a couple of sprints and felt I was limping a bit. But, I’ve been doing a lot of leg work in the gym and I’m sure I’ll be fine. Once I’ve got more confidence in the leg and I’m more comfortable stepping and sprinting I’ll be much happier.”
The last injury update for the time being is for Thomas Reed, who sustained his injury well away from the rugby pitch. Reed explains; “I’ve had back issues for quite a while now, and occasionally it just goes. I was ripping up a rabbit hutch for my mum and chucking it on a fire. All of a sudden, my back has gone into spasm and that’s that.”
“It’s really gutting to be honest, because preseason is very valuable time, and to be on the side-lines rather than showing what you can do is really frustrating. I’m still doing some strength work on my back to try and make sure this sort of injury doesn’t happen too often. I’ve had it way worse before, so it’s not a great concern at the moment as I’ll be back in training next week, it’s just frustrating.”
Updated 14:01 - 10 Aug 2017 by Daniel Wright