With much surprise as to why Manu ‘The Beast’ Vatuvei has not yet returned from injury, from the man himself, he has said that excruciating blisters on both his feet and ankles have plagued him, preventing him from returning.
After going off injured in Rd 1, but returning later on in the season, Manu just did not seem to be himself, and admits that his knee is still not 100%, and that even walking has been a problem with the blisters on his feet.
You could tell that Manu was struggling, when he had to have pain-killing injections on his feet, just to take the field yesterday, and in weeks past.
“I had really bad blisters from my boots,” he said.
”My ankle socks came down while we were doing a fitness session and my boots rubbed on the back of my ankles. It completely rubbed until my skin totally came off.
”It was raw, too, and then I couldn’t wear shoes for three weeks and every time I had to play I had to get a needle just to wear my boots.
“It was that bad. I just had to inject them every week and the last thing you ever want to inject are blisters, especially on your Achilles.
“My right side is really good and my left side is coming there. I can wear shoes now and I’m really happy with that. I should be sweet now. Lucky we had the break last week, so I could wear jandals [thongs] the whole week. It’s healed now and I think I just needed that break to let my blisters heal up properly.”
Despite not requiring surgery after being injured in Rd 1, Manu’s knee injury is still hampering him, and the man himself knows that all too well.
“I can’t say I’m back to 100 per cent yet,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot to work on with my leg and my knee is still a bit of a problem with some bone bruising. There are days when it plays up and then days when it doesn’t.
“It’s all about looking after it and hopefully things can get back to normal. It takes a while to heal but I just have to forget about it. It just swells up a bit when I get a knock on it.”
Despite struggling with injury, it is in his frame that you can notice the difference, as he has shed a few kilos from his usual barnstorming weight.
“Coming back was pretty hard and I know I’ve still got a lot of stuff to work on, especially my match fitness,” he said.
“But every week I’m improving. I’ve lost a bit of weight, but I’m still close to what I was weighing last year. I’m about 112 kilos, but I’m trying to stay around the 111 to 110 mark. If I can do that it will help me do a bit more work on the field.
“I have to be really strong with my dieting. All the food that I eat, every time I have one little bad meal, my weight just shoots up straight away.”