WHAT BEGAN with seemingly routine surgery has turned into a year of frustration for Leeds Rhinos front-rower Dom Crosby.
The 29-year-old will not play a competitive game in 2019, but has pledged to be fully fit and ready to go next season.
Crosby joined Rhinos on loan from Warrington Wolves in July, 2018 and signed a three-year contract last October.
After minor ankle and knee surgery he expected to be available early in the campaign, but those hopes were dashed.
Crosby admitted to suffering some “dark days” as his layoff dragged on, but insists he has remained positive and the desire to repay Rhinos for their support is fuelling his recovery.
Speaking for the first time of his season-ending setback, Crosby confirmed: “I had a knee operation in December and I got back to training, but unfortunately it wasn’t right.
“I had to get another opinion on it from a specialist in London and he told me some bad news.
“I had another operation in April and it’s going to be nine months from then.
“It is frustrating, but I’ve got it done by the best guy and the club have been fantastic with me.
“They have supported me all the way and the medical staff are working really hard with me. I have had my bad days and my good days, but I just want to help the boys in any way I can off the field and, hopefully, I will come back stronger next year.”
Explaining the injury, Crosby revealed: “It is a microfracture of my right knee.
“They are pretty long ones so we came to the decision to have the operation because I couldn’t really train – or walk, to be fair.
“I had a discussion with the club and the medical staff, and the specialist and was advised to get the operation done.
“I am not looking in the past any more, I am looking at the present and getting myself right for next year.
“It is frustrating, but I have just got to stay positive.”
With this season now confirmed as a write-off, Crosby has pencilled in Boxing Day for a possible return.
“Hopefully then I will get some games leading into the season,” he said.
“It has tested me, but I believe I will come out a better person and a better player from this and more resilient as a human being.
“I am embracing it, I am embracing the bad times and then I can embrace the good times when they do come around.”
It would be a difficult situation if Rhinos were having a good year, but this season’s struggles have made it even tougher.
“There’s nothing worse than when you can’t do anything to help on the pitch,” Crosby admitted.
“There’s no one more than me who wants to get out on the pitch and help the lads and repay the faith the club have shown in me.
“My time will come.”
The forward further committed: “I will always be there if there’s anything I can do to help the lads off the pitch and I am just focusing on the team-first mentality.”