Crooks on the mend after neck injury

Ben Crooks is hoping to be told he will not need neck surgery this week after scans showed significant improvement.

The Hull KR star was on the sidelines with a neck injury when the season was suspended, an injury that was set to keep him out for two months.

However, there were fears that he may need to undergo surgery if his rehabilitation didn’t go as planned, with that set to end his season.

But two months on from that prognosis, scans have shown considerable improvement around his neck, with a specialist now set to analyse his recovery to determine the next phase of his recovery.

“The neck feels really good now,” he said.

“The silver lining of all that has been that I’ve had a lot of time off to deal with it and recover without the pressure of getting back on the pitch.

“I had the scan and we’ve sent the images off to the specialist, but the physio seems positive, so we’re waiting to hear back this week. But in general, it feels better and I have a lot more movement in it. I’m still having physio, so it’s a bit more comfortable in certain areas, but other than that it’s going really well.”

If cleared, the news would be a huge boost to the 26-year-old, who is keen to avoid undergoing neck surgery because of the complexity of the procedure.

“It was a big dilemma we were facing. It’s your neck; do you leave it or look at surgery?

“We could leave it to fix it, but it could get worse and require surgery anyway, which then would have ended the season for me. The other alternative was to have the surgery, but neck surgery is complex and there can be complications.

“It was an awkward one, but I said it back then and I’ll say it now, you only have to look at the positivity from the big fella (Mose Masoe) and his scenario, and the way to get through things is to be positive. So I’ve had a positive mental attitude.”

When faced with his decision to have surgery or not, Crooks spoke to Masoe to get his views.

“I didn’t go into many details, as I didn’t want to burden him with my issues, but he told me to do what’s right by me and my family.

“When you come to stuff like that you have to be selfish and Rugby League has to take a back seat. Speaking with the specialist who knew a lot more than I did, he was confident he could get it to settle down without surgery. Hopefully when he gets in touch this week we will get some good news.

“When it happened I was gutted as I felt in good form and despite our results I thought we were building well. When I was told it was going to be a long layoff it was disappointing, but the silver lining is that hopefully I won’t miss too many games when the season does come back.”