Star Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell says he feared he’d never play cricket again and essentially had to teach himself how to walk again after his horrific broken leg.
Maxwell late last year shattered his left fibula and ruptured all the ligaments on top of his foot during a freak backyard accident at a friend’s birthday party.
He lost five kilograms in the two weeks after the operation, but his surgeon and doctors believe he’ll make a full recovery if diligent with his rehab program.
Speaking candidly on Fox Cricket during Tuesday night’s Strikers-Renegades TV broadcast, Maxwell detailed the physical and mental pain he endured in the early stages of his recovery.
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“That first week in hospital was pretty difficult … I did think that I might not play cricket again,” Maxwell told Fox Cricket. “There were those thoughts while I was in hospital looking at my leg because it looked like a balloon.
“The next week I was at home after I got back from the hospital and I thought it was going to be a lot easier at home. (But) not having the nurses there and not having the constant pain medication … that was probably the most pain I’ve ever been in. Just trying to get around the house was awful.”
During the interview with fellow Fox Cricket commentators Mark Howard and Brad Haddin, Maxwell said he was “really proud” of his post-surgery attitude, but added it was a long and painful process getting back on his feet – literally and mentally.
“I had to teach myself how to walk, which was pretty bizarre because the actual joint was so swollen and tight that it was basically like having two blocks of wood nailed together,” he said. “There was no real movement, no flexion at all. I had to teach myself how to get the courage to walk forward over the top of my foot and go heel to toe.
“Being in a pool and doing all that rehab has been really helpful.”
Maxwell said it was initially confronting pondering the thought his cricket career could be over, but tried to refocus his energy and turn his worries into “ultra-positives”.
“I did a few video calls and talked to a bunch of people … as soon as I could start to move and walk a little bit, every day I was making progress – so I was basically just holding onto the fact I was making progress,” he said.
“I started looking forward, thinking: ‘You know what? I’m going to make this recovery the best possible recovery possible. I’m going to come back early and stronger than ever.’
“I started to try and use it as a motivation factor instead of: ‘Oh no why has this happened to me?’ I tried to turn it around and think about how I can finish the back-end of my career and be the fittest I’ve been, healthiest and most motivated.
“We’ve got the Test tour of India coming up and I was super motivated to get myself ready for that. Whether or not I’m on that, only time will tell. But I’ve done everything in my power to try and get ready for it and get myself back playing. There’s still a fair way to go.
“I’m really proud of how much work I’ve put in day and night. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights icing and trying to get myself ready, nights sleeping on the couch with pillows all around my foot and ice packs shoved into my boot.”
Maxwell still hasn’t nominated an official return date to competitive cricket, instead assessing his progress week by week. Although it now seems less likely he’ll return for the Melbourne Stars before the end of the Big Bash.
He recently returned to the golf course, while he remains hopeful of batting and bowling this week.
Asked if he’d approach the game differently when he returns, Maxwell said: “That’s really hard to say. I might.
“I think having been on this side (commentary) a fair bit over the summer, you get a bit more of a worldly view of the game. I get more of an understanding of watching it from what the viewer sees.
“I might enjoy every moment that I’m on the field a little bit more. I probably won’t take it for (granted) as much as I probably have in the past. I’m 34 at the moment, there’s limited time left in my career, I’ve got to make sure I’m enjoying every moment I’ve got in my professional career.
“I’m certainly looking forward to getting back out there, I’ll probably start playing club cricket soon after the Big Bash and hopefully go from there.”
Originally published as Glenn Maxwell feared he ‘might not play cricket again’ after horror leg break