Tietjens out until November
Doug Tietjens has had heavier collisions and not been injured, but his latest will keep him off the field until November.
While the Manawatu Turbos flanker's knee is on the mend, he is resigned to rehabilitation before rejoining the Highlanders for the second year of his contract.
Tietjens seriously injured a knee in the Highlanders' last game in South Africa, against the Sharks at Durban in the first week of May.
Four days after returning to Dunedin he had surgery to essentially reconstruct the knee. He had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and cartilage damage had to be repaired, but thankfully he hadn't snapped his lateral collateral ligament as first feared.
So the first prediction of 12 months away from rugby was revised to nine months and is now at six months.
He is back in Palmerston North with partner Chrissy and their 4-month-old daughter Ella.
Tietjens, 28, is walking almost normally and hopes to be running in three to four weeks time.
He played six games for the Highlanders and his outing against the Sharks was his second start. He had also started against the Brumbies.
"I felt comfortable in the pre-season games but that one was quite nerve-racking; I was trying to find my feet," he said.
At the time things were panning out for him because John Hardie was injured and Englishman James Haskell had been suspended.
"It was good to be able to focus on your own role. The tempo is quite high and still quite enjoyable."
He remembers being in support of Adam Thompson when the injury happened, as Tietjens pivoted to change direction.
"I initially thought someone had cleaned me out, on the inside of the knee. I have had worse injuries and been able to keep playing."
But gradually the soreness increased and he had to take pain-killers. "It wasn't too bad at the start when it hadn't sunk in.
"Post-operation, with two weeks with my leg up, was quite tough and once I got back into training it got easier."
But he figures having to wait another three months until the rugby season begins again, once his six months rehabilitation is up, will be strenuous.
He was to talk to the Turbos' coaches about his role from now on. He is contracted until the end of the year and coach Jason O'Halloran has suggested Tietjens will be useful in a scouting-video analysis role.
Tietjens has played 33 games for the Turbos since Dave Rennie brought him back from Dunedin in 2008. He and Callum Gibbins mostly alternated as the starting No 7 last year.
- © Fairfax NZ News