Cronulla second-rower Wade Graham has been taking painkilling injections to help him get through a rib injury for the past month.
While he has postponed addressing the problem to help the Sharks’ push up the NRL ladder, Graham concedes he may soon have to sit out some matches as the issue is now causing pain in his neck.
“A couple of ribs and a disc in the back of my neck, which is pinching a nerve,” Graham told AAP.
“I’m looking for a chance to rest it, but that’s the game. I’m just trying to battle on and just hopefully improve every week.”
The 25-year-old admitted he might need to sit out some games in the near future, but didn’t want to miss last week’s win over former club Penrith, nor the upcoming blockbuster against ladder leaders Brisbane.
The representative break looms as his best chance to assess the damage, although he was hopeful of simply being able to avoid missing any significant game time.
“It’s hard because I was not missing this game against the Penrith because they’re my old team, and I’m definitely not missing the game against the Broncos,” he said.
Graham has a long history of rib problems, but said this one was different.
“It’s up high, and it’s affecting my neck, which in turn affects my back,” he said.
“It just makes it hard to train during the week and I’ll wake up tomorrow pretty stiff.
“It throws me all out of whack but I’m managing it and hopefully it keeps improving little by little and eventually come good.”
Graham said the clash against the title favourites would present a true gauge of their title hopes, with both sides riding high on the back of five-game winning streaks.
“Obviously the Broncos are at the top of the table and then with the rep weekend the weekend after, it’s a massive game when you think about it,” he said.
“We’ll be able to test ourselves, see where we’re really at.”