Pilley faces tough road back from surgery
SQUASH: Yamba's Cameron Pilley has suffered a tough return from injury, bowing out of the US Open in the first round after a five-set thriller against hometown hero Todd Harrity.
Despite taking the first two sets 11-4, 11-7, and showing the PSA World Tour fans all the skill set that made him a top 20 regular, a lack of court time quickly caught up with the 35-year-old as he dropped the next three sets 6-11, 8-11, 5-11.
The US Open was Pilley's first return to competition after undergoing surgery to remove eight bone spurs in his foot back in June.
The surgery had the former PSA World Series finalist confined to crutches for the first fortnight before almost two months of rehabilitation.
"I was getting physio twice a week and doing very basic rehab exercises, including simply trying to stand and balance on one leg, which proved incredibly difficult,” Pilley said.
"For weeks I could barely balance on my left leg, let alone do any kind of single leg exercises in the gym.
"I'm still not 100 per cent but I feel I need to start competing and get back into it. I'm able to train and play but it still needs to regain strength and stability.”
It has been a tough road for Pilley, who at times was unsure if he would ever step through the glass again.
"There have been moments when I've doubted if it was the right call to get surgery and times when I wondered if I'd ever step on court again to compete at a high level,” he said.
"It's been pretty frustrating and I've had some low points for sure.
"My wife Line has been really supportive throughout it all and reassures me when I have my doubts. Our little girl just turned one so she's keeping me busy and helps to keep everything in perspective.
"In the end I'm glad I went through with the operation. I still have a lot of work to do and it isn't 100 per cent yet but it's getting there.”