Plymouth Albion have been without captain Herbie Stupple for their last three games with the 27 year-old sidelined through injury since the home fixture against Old Elthamians.
Now with a clear diagnosis, Stupple reveals: “I have a slipped disk and it’s pinching the nerve in my right arm so I have got numbness and my back has been in pain.”
Pleased to learn he will not need an operation to repair the damage, Stupple adds: “My surgeon says these things heal themselves, so it’s a bit of a waiting game. It is good news because I don’t have to have an operation. But it will take time because the side effect is that I have not got much feeling in my right arm.”
Stupple, from Padstow, reveals he initially sustained the injury during Albion’s first pre-season fixture with Championship side Bedford Blues.
He says: “I pinched my neck a bit and had a bit of numbness in my fingers. I wasn’t in pain, I was fine and carried on for the game and the season until our match against Old Elthamians.
“I must have just done it in the game from the constant impacts. I didn’t notice it at first, probably because of the adrenalin, but as soon as we finished I had pain in my back and couldn’t move.
“The surgeon has said not to return to rugby until I am pain free. It is definitely getting better. Today is my first day of physio treatment to see if we can get any strength back in my right side.”
Stupple says he is coping well with the injury: “I am alright. I have had two and a half seasons injury-free and this could have been a lot worse. I will probably be out for a little bit, but compared with injuries I have had before this isn’t much.”
The influential number eight has been keen to cheer his side on from the sidelines. He says: “I go through stages when I think to myself I should be knocking it on the head, then I watch the team and I realise I don’t ever want to give it up.”
Hopeful of many more productive seasons on the pitch, he adds: “When I watch the guys play I feel I need to be out there. I feel a little bit helpless from where I am but they are smashing it and they are doing well.”
Fans’ favourite Stupple has a personal message to the many supporters who have wished him well. He says: “Please keep following the boys, especially Gracey (Eoghan Grace), who has been doing an amazing job.”
With Albion facing an away trip to league leaders Coventry next weekend, Stupple adds: “I think the boys need the support more than ever. Coventry away is the game of the season really, isn’t it? It’s the one we want. Get behind us and we’ll smash it!”