I've had to grit my teeth and manage the pain, says skipper
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Captain Jamaal Lascelles has lifted the lid on the groin injury that threatened to cut his season short.
Lascelles will undergo a double hernia operation later today, having helped the Magpies secure a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The centre-half has been a virtual ever-present this term – making 47 appearances in all competitions after being handed the armband by Rafa Benitez last August.
But, speaking exclusively to nufc.co.uk, Lascelles admitted that he has been playing through the pain barrier for several months, such was his desire to help his side over the line.
“Five or six months ago, I started feeling my groin. I thought it was a bit of tightness, or whatever, but I was really struggling with it,” he said. “Every day in training, I’d probably train at about 50% - I couldn’t really run, or use my left foot.
“I spoke to the medical staff, and the manager, and it’s not something that can get worse – if you grit your teeth and manage the pain, you can get through it. I just thought, ‘We’re in a position here where we can get promoted’, and obviously – being the captain – I wanted to be involved. The manager trusts me, and he wants me to play.
“I’ve had a gym programme for four or five months now – you can’t heal it, but you can manage it by doing that. I’ve focused on that every day.
“I’ve probably not helped myself this season, in some areas, but that’s the sacrifice you make, and I’m willing to make it. It’s helped the team, and now I can get this sorted in time for pre-season.”
After reflecting on the mental strength he has had to call upon in recent months, Lascelles gave an insight into what lies in store on the road to recovery.
“It has been tough – there have been times where I have had head loss because of how painful it’s been,” he said. “Sometimes, it hasn’t done me any justice, because you play how you train. If I’m in training, and I’m just jogging about, it can show on the pitch on a matchday.
“Hernias can be different for different people. I think Alan Shearer once had a hernia and he managed to play nine days later. One of the young boys, Jamie Sterry, has had one and he took it really well – he trained again after four weeks.
“It’s the end of the season, and I can rest over the summer a little bit. The first couple of weeks, I’ll just be walking and doing a few different movements – I can’t imagine I’ll be doing anything mad.
“If we weren’t already up, I’d still be trying to get through it and trying to play, but the job has been done, and now I can look after myself and better myself for next season.”
"I spoke to the medical staff, and the manager, and it’s not something that can get worse – if you grit your teeth and manage the pain, you can get through it. I just thought, ‘We’re in a position here where we can get promoted’, and obviously – being the captain – I wanted to be involved."