Australia’s Test skipper Tim Paine said on Friday that he is recovering well from the invasive neck surgery he underwent earlier this week and that after a six-week session with the physio at the hospital he will start his cricket rehab and be fit for the Ashes beginning at The Gabba on December 8.
A bulging disc had been causing discomfort to the wicketkeeper-batsman in his left arm and neck, and Paine had to undergo a C-6 and C-7 disc replacement.
“I’ll be dealing with physio at the hospital for the next six weeks or so before I’m handed back over to Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia to start my cricket rehab. I’ll hopefully get a (Sheffield) Shield game in for Tassie (Tasmania) before then and hopefully be on the winning end of a third winning Ashes would be something really special,” Paine told radio station SEN.
Giving details of the surgery, the 36-year-old Paine said that he underwent the procedure in Hobart, where the damaged discs were removed and new discs stitched back in place.
“I ended up having disc replacements on C-6 and C-7, high up in the neck. Basically, they cut a big hole in my throat, move my voice box over to the side and go in that way. It’s less invasive than going through the back way, obviously with your spine it’s the safer way of doing it.
“So they take them (damaged discs) out, put the new discs in and stitch it back up. It actually feels really, really good except for the front where I’ve got the cut. I feel like my range is already better and I’ve just got to make sure the front, where the cut is, heals and I give the disc time to ‘take’ to the rest of my spine over the next month or so, and then get moving. It’s a pretty slow process, if I’m totally honest.”
Paine said that his mobility over the next couple of weeks would be restricted to walking and doing some physiotherapy movements to get the smaller neck muscles working again.
“I’ll be (restricted to) walking for the next couple of weeks, and doing a lot of little neck physio-type movements just to try and get the smaller muscles in my neck working again.”
Explaining the problem he had been suffering, Paine said that he had a bulging disc which was pressing on the nerve canal, causing pain on the left side of the body.
“I had the bulging disc pressing in on the nerve canal in the spine, so I was having a few issues down the left side of my body. We were getting to the touch-and-go stage where I either don’t get it done and take the risk that I’ll be right through the Ashes, or get it fixed now. So the decision came down to a number of things really. With it pushing hard on the nerves, you can damage the nerves so I didn’t want to have any long-term issues with my left arm in particular.
“I was losing a lot of strength in my left arm, and getting a lot of nerve pain down the back of my arm and I didn’t want that to become anything permanent and if I left it too long, I think there’s a chance that it could.”