After spending a week at home icing his fractured right leg to get the swelling down, Robbie Farah has come to the conclusion that he might not play NRL again.
The 35-year-old Wests Tigers hooker returned to the Concord Oval gymnasium on Monday to begin the physical rehab program. Lying on the couch with his leg elevated Farah completed his mental preparation.
He injured his leg in the round 21 loss to the Bulldogs. Since that night Farah has been speaking to specialists, doctors and surgeons to get as much advice and as many different opinions on what he faces moving forward.
"I've got my head around it all and accepted the fact I probably won't play another game," he said after his physio session. "But at the same time I'll do everything I can to defy the odds and get back out there."
The bone – the tibia, just below his right knee - needed time to heal and there was no miracle remedy for that, Farah said.
He could put himself out on the field but he would risk making the fracture worse.
"It's six-plus weeks [injury] and I'm trying to come back in three to four. So it's not going to be fully healed so it's a matter of the risk I take going out there," he said.
Wests Tigers players hope Farah will return from injury
"If I do further damage then what does that mean for me longer-term."
At present the fracture can heal without surgery. Playing on it might necessitate surgery.
"And obviously that means pins and things," he said. "That's got to be something I'm willing to take the risk over – how much of a risk we're not too sure because it's not like we've seen 10 guys play with this injury to assess who does more damage and who doesn't."
Now that he's gathered all the information, Farah will see how his short rehab period goes and get another scan prior to round 25 – the match against the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval.
He is putting weight on the leg at present and hopes to get into the pool and on the stationary bike.
Wests Tigers are in 11th spot on 20 points. Wins against the Knights, Dragons, and Sharks would get them to 26 and possibly into the finals.
"Hopefully the boys can win this weekend and keep our season alive, and another win the week after, to go into that last round. They are all things I have to weigh up on whether I get out on the field or not," Farah said.
He said he was already feeling the emotional toll of it all.
"When this happened, the first couple of days were tough. You start to realise that I've probably played my last game of football and that's hard to deal with.
Farah injures knee in first half against Bulldogs
"I had a bit of a cry about it but then you pick yourself up and I realised how grateful I am to have played 300 [NRL games], to have that night at Leichhardt [in celebration of the milestone] and even to be back at this club.
"My career could have ended two years ago playing reserve grade. So I've been thinking about all those good things I've had; all those opportunities I've enjoyed.
"Everyone goes through injuries and worse things than me. I'm pretty fortunate I did get to play my 300th and finish my career here.
"If that's going to be the end – and while that's a little disappointing – I can also count myself pretty lucky.
"First few days I wasn't comfortable with that. But now I've accepted it."