After being plagued by bad luck with injury to start the season, Bradman Best has finally got a favourable break.
Only three weeks ago, the outstanding teenage Knights centre was facing the prospect of missing the opening 10 rounds of the NRL premiership following surgery to repair a bone fracture and torn tendon in his foot.
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The suspension of the premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic changed all that. Now, with the NRL announcing they are looking at rebooting the competition with a May 28 start date, Best is likely to be back on deck after missing just two matches.
"It's been really tough on everyone but a bit of a blessing in disguise for me," Best said of the shutdown. "Instead of missing 10 games, I'll now only miss two which is a huge win. I guess it's good for all the injured players."
Best has another month of rehab remaining and should be ready to go with some contact under his belt not too long after that.
"If we are back playing footy by the end of May, I'll be ready to go," he told the Newcastle Herald. "I'm back running and the foot is coming along really well. It's ahead of schedule but we've been in no real rush and just taking our time with it to make sure it is right."
News of the extent of Best's injury will surprise a lot of fans.
He first rolled his ankle during the pre-season after Christmas and wasn't considered for the NRL Nines. Then while the bulk of the squad was in Perth, he went over on it again, this time hearing it "pop".
Initially, it was thought he would miss the opening four premiership rounds. But then came the "bombshell" from the specialist.
"After the surgeon saw the scans, he dropped a bombshell by telling me the operation was going to keep me out for three months," Best said. "That rattled me."
Best said he is one of the rare people to have an extra bone in the side of his foot. Not only had he fractured it, he also torn a tendon.
"It's a pretty rare thing - I had an extra bone in my foot and I was told only 0.5 percent of people have it and I was one of them," he said. "It was on the side of my foot between my little toe and my heel.
"While a lot of the boys went over to Perth for the Nines, I was training with the boys left behind and it just snapped. I heard a pop and I knew that wasn't good.
"They told me I'd done a good job of it this time. There was a fracture there and I tore the tendon. They removed the bone completely, got rid of it and then reattached the tendon that I'd torn."
Best started running again for the first time last week and has had no more issues with the foot.
"It's been really frustrating and a shock to start with but it's all good now," he said. "Last week was the first time I started running but we'll started to build that up and put some load in my legs. It feels good, I can't feel it at all to be honest so it hasn't been a problem."
Best will be vying with Enari Tuala for the left centre spot when he returns but won't simply walk into the team with the former Cowboys outside back impressing during the opening two rounds of the competition.
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