Will Fraine has spoken positively about the knee surgery which has left him a doubt to start the 2020 county season but is set to mean a long and healthy career.
The Yorkshire batsman has had an operation following five dislocations of his left knee cap through his life, including twice inside the last three months.
He says the occurrences are generally innocuous, explaining: “I could do it going out to pick up the paper!”
Fraine dislocated his knee in warm-ups during September’s Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton before doing the same whilst fielding on debut for Sydney grade club Gordon in Australia last month.
The 23-year-old had surgery on December 2, which went well according to him and White Rose physio Kunwar Bansil, who watched on inside the operating theatre.
“I can’t really say 100 percent now, but it seems we are looking at a four to six-month recovery,” said Fraine. “That means it’s unlikely that I will start the season.
“It’s called an MPFL (Medial Patellofemoral Ligament) reconstruction.
“Basically, I have a new ligament in my knee which is going to stop it from dislocating. They’ve crafted it from a hamstring tendon.
“It’s not a full knee reconstruction, but it was open surgery – not just keyhole.
“The surgeon was happy with how it went, and Ku watched the procedure. He was in the operating theatre and came and saw me afterwards and said it went really well.
“Now I’ve just got to get on with it and make sure I don’t lose all my strength in my quads because I’m in a brace for the next six or seven weeks.
“We’ve started with a few little things like leg raises, but stepping up the recovery depends on my pain levels.
“This should hopefully correct things. I’ve injured my left knee a lot in the past, and it just got to the point where the structures were no longer working.
“The last three times I’ve dislocated my knee cap, it’s happened in very innocuous ways. The one in Sydney, for example, I was on the boundary edge, ran around to pick the ball up and as I lunged down to get it my knee just gave way.
“That shouldn’t happen considering I was strong and had done a lot of gym work beforehand.
“Chatting to the surgeon, he made it clear that it didn’t matter how strong I was it would keep happening. I might be alright for a season or even two, but it would 90 percent certain happen again.”
The former Nottinghamshire man arrived at Emerald Headingley last October and went on to score 303 runs in eight Championship matches during his first summer wearing the White Rose.
He opened the batting against the red ball, and his standout innings was 106 in the four-day win against Surrey at Scarborough.
He said: “This surgery has got a 90-95 percent success rate.
“This will hopefully ensure I have a long career instead of worrying about it because it was always in the back of my mind.
“Even if I miss the first couple of months of the season, hopefully it will never bug me again.
“For the sake of missing a month or two of the season, we have to look long-term. If it means a career of 10-15 years, great.
“We won’t be rushing it, that’s for sure, because there’s only one more option after this surgery and that gets very much more career threatening. That gets lower success rates and longer out.
“We will be very thorough.
“There will be the mental aspect to it, making sure I get confidence back in it. But we’ll get there. I’m very confident of that.”