A physiotherapist by trade, Andy McKay knew the sharp pain in his side while bowling for Wellington last week wasn't good.
A trip to the doctor confirmed the fast bowler's fears; he'd torn an oblique muscle off the bone and will be sidelined from cricket for eight weeks.
"It's not too good. The scans weren't pretty," he said.
After an initial prognosis of at least two weeks out, it became two months yesterday.
McKay will miss the rest of the Firebirds' Twenty20 campaign as well as two Plunket Shield matches at his home ground of Karori Park next month.
The 32-year-old's targeted return is January 24, day one of Wellington's Plunket Shield match against Otago in Dunedin. If all goes to plan, that should give him five four-day matches and the entire one-day competition.
"It's just a case of getting stuck into the rehab. Not ideal timing but it's one of those things about being a fast bowler, it comes with the territory.
"I've got a pretty rigorous rehab plan that's been mapped out by our physio, day-by-day for eight weeks. The Otago game is the goal, and if I can play some T20 stuff, then great."
A course of acupuncture was also hastening his recovery.
The timing was especially poor for McKay, who, after a solid pre-season, felt he'd started to hit his straps in the T20 game against Auckland.
He bowled just eight overs against Canterbury in Rangiora last week before he felt the pain in his second spell.
McKay spent yesterday watching his team-mates' progress on the internet as they conceded 658. He'll be on hand for their home games while he returns to light training.
"It's been pretty tough watching the scoreboard tick over. It looks pretty flat up there.
"We've had some flat ones this year but it doesn't make it any easier."
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