Newcastle recruit Rory Kostjasyn looks to pass during his time with the Cowboys.
Newcastle recruit Rory Kostjasyn looks to pass during his time with the Cowboys. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Freak injury keeping new Knight quiet ... literally

RORY Kostjasyn is facing one of the most important fortnights of his life.

By early March, the senior Newcastle recruit will discover whether he'll ever sound like himself again.

If things don't go as planned he may be stuck with a voice somewhere between a croaky whisper and Darren Lockyer.

Far from getting back on the field, right now Kostjasyn yearns just to be heard by his partner Natalie when they're having a conversation in a crowded room.

The reason? A stray elbow from a Knights teammate in one of the club's first training sessions back after the Christmas break.

In the blink of an eye a routine tackle from Kostjasyn turned ugly, fracturing the cricoid cartilage in his throat, which in turn dislocated a section of his vocal cords.

It's been a frustrating waiting game since, with swelling in and around the throat delaying a surgery date that will have a big bearing on the premiership player's future - both on and off the field.

"I think at best my voice will go back to 90%," Kostjasyn revealed to

"The surgeon's a throat specialist with St Vincent's hospital, Dr Ian Cole, and he seems like he's confident that he'll be able to fix it.

"That's what he does for a living, so I'm confident that he'll fix it, we'll be sweet."

Still, it's a complex procedure that Kostjasyn says is rarely performed.

Naturally he's a bit edgy about the surgery and the small scar it will leave on his neck as a permanent reminder.

"It doesn't sound real fun what's going to happen but it is what it is," Kostjasyn said.

"At the moment it's hard to plan my recovery because I don't know exactly what's going to happen, in terms of what the surgery is going to be and the recovery that's required after.

"I'll have a test to check the nerves in my throat to see if they're still working because depending on the results, that will determine what the specialist does in two or three weeks' time."

At the moment, optimism is the only way forward, not only for Kostjasyn's sake but for those closest to him.

"It's not ideal talking like this all the time. My missus doesn't like it too much," he said.

"It can get a little uncomfortable but it's just a bit more frustrating than anything. If I go somewhere with a lot of background noise, no one can really hear me, so it's kind of just annoying."

Annoying and frustrating also because from a training point of view, Kostjasyn feels fine.

He can run and do gym work just like all his teammates but the risk of further damage to his throat is preventing him from taking part in contact work.

It's just the latest setback in an interrupted first pre-season with his new club.

"I'm still training pretty hard but none of the fun stuff, just all the stuff on my own," Kostjasyn said.

"Obviously you need to be able to communicate effectively on the field. At the moment I have no chance of being able to do that.

"So the surgery has to be done, but it's your airwave as well, so you need that clear and working properly.

"It's been frustrating. I trained a fair bit during the Christmas period as well and that only happened three days after we got back, which was a bit annoying but these things happen, it's rugby league.

"We play a sport where sometimes accidents happen. You've just got to think about what you can do in the meantime in terms of preparing for the footy that lies ahead."

As far as a timetable to get back on the field, a 12-week estimate is the latest given by the Knights but Kostjasyn prefers to keep his personal goal to himself.

The bottom line is that until the surgery is performed there are too many unknowns for concrete planning to make sense.

Most of all, he just wants his voice back.

News Corp Australia

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