A Doctor has revealed Blues hooker Damien Cook was in danger of being rushed into surgery for a deteriorating skin condition in the build-up to his Origin II heroics.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Dr David Broe, who works beside Blues and Sea Eagles chief medical officer Nathan Gibbs confirmed Cook came very close to missing the crucial NSW win.
Cook played with a wound on his left leg that was a couple of centimetres deep, the result of a boil that developed into cellulitis.
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As of Monday night before the Wednesday night kick-off time for Game II, Dr Broe was preparing to operate on Cook on Tuesday morning, before a night of strong antibiotics and IV drip improved the Blues rake’s condition.
“When I looked at him the infection was spreading all through his skin and up to his groin region,” Dr Broe told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I didn’t paint a particularly good picture.
“When I saw him initially I thought he would need 24-36 hours in hospital on a drip. If he wasn’t getting better in the morning I was making a decision that day to take him to the operating theatre. I couldn’t get over it when he turned a major corner.
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“Given what he had been through over the previous week, it was a remarkable performance.”
NSW did well to conceal Cook’s hospital mercy dash from the public, but it was approved by the NRL’s Project Apollo experts.
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Cook only checked himself out of hospital on Tuesday to take part in the captain’s run, before starring in his side’s 34-10 win to square the series.
The Blues No.9 will be allowed to travel to Brisbane for the decider depending on the results of mandatory COVID-19 tests on Monday.
But the 29-year-old revealed just how close he came to his season ending two games early.
“Worst case if it kept spreading then they would have to really open it up, clean out the infection and then pack it in,” Cook revealed of his injury.
“I don’t think [the doctor] really wanted me to play game two. He was more talking game three, but our trainer said I had to be at captain’s run.
“It was quite large at the time. It wasn’t too common, but the antibiotics worked. I didn’t want to miss it for that.
“I woke up [on Tuesday] morning and he was amazed with it and I was ready to go.”