IT started out as an “innocuous” cut but ended up leaving Wakefield Trinity Wildcats captain Danny Kirmond in hospital for an entire week.
Unfortunately, the second-row will again not play against St Helens tomorrow as he is still recovering from the bizarre injury that left him bed-ridden and requiring surgery.
Kirmond was struck down by a surprise infection after Wakefield’s Super League win at Huddersfield Giants on June 12, the day he scored a crucial try to help avoid a third successive Trinity defeat.
“I’d had the cut on the knee since Magic Weekend (May 22) and been playing with it fine,” he told The Yorkshire Post.
“I was fine after the Huddersfield game, too, but then the next day I got this real intense pain.
“It was weird as I’d been okay throughout the day and done a recovery session. But I woke up in the middle night with this really bad pain and spent a couple of days tooing and froing from A&E not finding anything out.
“Luckily, though, I went to see a knee specialist, who put me on an IV drip and antibiotics.
“It still didn’t clear up, though, and, in the end, they said they’d have to operate on it and cut the infection out.
“They reckon something must have got in the cut at some point when it’s opened up while playing but it is really innocuous.”
While he must sit out tomorrow’s game at Belle Vue, the 30-year-old expects to also be absent for next Friday’s contest at Wigan, too.
“I’ve lost a little bit of weight, a few kilos, but not much and am able to do some weights,” he explained.
“It’s a case of waiting now and seeing how long it takes for the swelling to go down so I can start running again.
“I may be right for the game in Catalans (July 16) but, if not, Castleford.”
Kirmond, who has scored four tries in 13 games this year, was rightly proud of his squad’s achievements last week when they overcame Huddersfield 28-16 to reach the Challenge Cup last-four.
He hopes they can bring that form back into Super League, too, as Wakefield’s top-eight place is yet to be confirmed and they have lost three of their last four games in that competition.
“I definitely think that’s what we’re aiming for now,” added Kirmond.
“Everyone says it’s about consistency but I do think that’s something that’s really important for us.
“We’ve had a few up and down performances. We’ll be good one week and then not back it up with a performance; it’s crucial we do that this Sunday.
“It’s a very important game for us. Everyone talks about the top-four being already sorted but I don’t think that’s the case and the higher we finish up that table the more polish we can have on this season.
“Saints are just above us so it’s important we do perform.”
Later, of course, Wakefield will face Warrington Wolves for a place at Wembley with Trinity having not played there since 1979.
Kirmond added: “It’s great for the club. It’s massive and you can feel the buzz already.
“Tickets went on sale a few days ago and I’ve never seen the club shop like that; they were queuing around the block to get tickets and that spirit is replicated through the whole club.
“The Cup quarter was a great performance in what was a really important game for Huddersfield Giants.
“They were putting a lot of enthusiasm into that game and were always going to come out firing. They did but our lads played really well and matched them.”
The only change in Wakefield’s 19-man squad is Anthony Walker, who comes in for Stuart Howarth following his loan move to Bradford Bulls.
St Helens are without prop Lama Tasi through injury but hope to have second-rower Atelea Vea back and Jack Ashworth is also back in the reckoning.
Wigan will be aiming to spoil today’s party as Catalans Dragons bring their 10th anniversary celebrations to a head in front of a stadium record crowd.
The Perpignan club have sold almost 11,000 tickets and expect to top the previous best attendance at Stade Gilbert Brutus, the 11,576 that watched France’s 2013 World Cup match against Samoa, for today’s visit of the Warriors.
“We seem to drop on Catalans when it’s a big occasion,” said Warriors coach Shaun Wane. Catalans have won seven of their nine home games so far this year.