Knights’ silver lining as young gun aims for early return
The NRL lockdown has been a blessing in disguise for rising Newcastle Knights back Bradman Best after he was diagnosed with a rare foot injury in the pre-season.
Doctors discovered an extra bone growing in his left foot which would have kept him sidelined for between four and six weeks.
Best, 18, avoided surgery and began training again after three weeks in a moon boot before he tore a tendon in the same foot leading up to the NRL Nines in February.
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Scans confirmed he needed surgery and three months to recover.
"I was shattered," Best said.
"My physios said that 0.5 per cent of the population have this injury with an extra bone growing in your foot.
"I guess I was the lucky or unlucky one with it.
"It took me a while to get my head around but it has all worked out well in the end."
Best has been able to recover from the foot injury during the NRL shutdown.
The Central Coast junior spent long hours with Newcastle's physiotherapist building up his strength and fitness and is on track to return to the field if the season resumes on May 28.
Best's strength and speed made him a dominant player in Newcastle's junior ranks before he made his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers late last season.
His return is positive news for the Knights, who have lost hooker Jayden Brailey to a season-ending knee injury.
"Everyone said I would miss 10 weeks of footy but hopefully I can return when the NRL does in a couple of weeks," Best said.
"It is unfortunate that we haven't been able to play football but it has been a bonus for me as it has allowed me to recover.
"Because I've been in rehab, I've also been lucky that I can go into training and do one-on-one training with the physio.
"I also have a gym at home, so I can try and stay in a routine.
"I'm not quite 100 per cent but in a few weeks my physio thinks that I'll be ready to go.
"I'm back running but there are few little things that I need to tick off.
"But when the season returns, I'll be fit, healthy and ready to go."
The support of Knights teammate Tautau Moga helped Best through some dark days during his recovery.
Moga has had countless injuries throughout his career and was perfectly placed to offer advice on how to deal with such as setback.
"Tautau told me that I was young and I have a long season and career ahead of me," Best said.
"That support meant a lot because the injury really affected me at first.
"My goal was to be playing in round one and cement the centre position.
"This injury put a spanner in the works but Tautau helped me move on."
Originally published as Knights' silver lining as young gun aims for early return