Amazing truth of Origin star’s injury secret
Damien Cook was at risk of undergoing surgery for a skin infection just days before playing a key role in NSW's Origin II win over Queensland on Wednesday night, the doctor who treated him has revealed.
Only after the Blues' comprehensive 34-10 thrashing of the Maroons did it emerge Cook had spent part of the lead-up in hospital with a boil, that then became cellulitis, causing a wound centimetres deep on his left leg.
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Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr David Broe said he was getting ready to operate at Prince of Wales Hospital because the infection had worsened to such a worrying degree.
But the speed of Cook's recovery stunned the medical professional.
"When I looked at him the infection was spreading all through his skin and up to his groin region," Dr Broe told the publication. "I didn't paint a particularly good picture.
"When I saw him initially I thought he would need 24-36 hours in hospital on a drip. If he wasn't getting better in the morning I was making a decision that day to take him to the operating theatre. I couldn't get over it when he turned a major corner.
"Given what he had been through over the previous week, it was a remarkable performance."
Speaking after NSW locked the series up at 1-1, following a Game 1 loss in Adelaide, Cook said he endured an "interesting week" but was determined to do everything in his power to play.
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"What initially looked like a little ingrown (hair) grew and grew and turned into a cellulite leg infection. The boys tried to say it was a boil, but it wasn't," Cook said. "It just got out of control, I didn't know what it was.
"The medical staff, NSW, they're really good. One of the guys here, he acted very fast with everything and did everything. I needed to do to make sure I played tonight.
"I have to thank him for that and have to thank Freddy for giving me the time to get ready."
Dragons captain Cameron McInnes was on standby for the Blues in case Cook failed to pull through, but the Souths hooker came good and helped steer NSW to victory.
NSW coach Brad Fittler was amazed no one in the media picked up on Cook's injury in the lead-up, and said he had no problem playing his first-choice rake when he made himself available.
"I told (Blues selector) Greg Alexander we'll hear it in his voice (if he's ready to play or not). He said, 'I'm ready to go' and met us out at the captain's run and had a blinder," Fittler said.
"A few of you (reporters) missed him, that he didn't train on Saturday. Nobody asked any questions about it … that was a good story."
Originally published as Amazing truth of Origin star's injury secret