Power: I've got no cartilage left in my knee anymore
Retired Kilkenny star Richie Power has admitted he will have to teach himself how to walk properly again and may face a knee replacement after injury forced the 30-year-old to hang up his inter-county boots yesterday.
As reported first in the Irish Independent, the Carrickshock attacker officially called time on his 11-year inter-county career, which yielded eight All-Ireland medals, after undergoing his third operation in 10 months.
Power's contribution with the Cats has been limited drastically in recent seasons due to knee cartilage problems and after seeking several medical opinions, he was left with no other choice.
"I've no cartilage in my left knee anymore, it's bone on bone and it's very sore," Power said on Newstalk's Off The Ball last night. "I tried everything including injections and getting fluid drained off my knee.
"I spent most of last year with a limp and the knee kept flaring up. I was on crutches for 10 weeks after the last operation and I probably need to teach myself how to walk properly again.
"I was told my playing days were behind me, there was too much damage done if I wanted to have a standard of life for myself and I'm probably facing a knee replacement down the line.
"But I'm trying to delay that for as long as possible because that would completely end my playing career. The last operation I had was a micro-fracture so hopefully that will help in the long-term."
Power faces another four to six months of rehab, on an injury which stretches back to his first operation 14 years ago when he was attending St Kieran's College, if he has any hope of seeing club action this year.
After six surgeries on his troublesome knee, the two time All-Star expressed his disappointment over how his Kilkenny journey came to an "unfortunate ending".
But feels he was lucky that his last day in Croke Park was such a special one as he made a brief cameo in their comeback victory over Galway in September.
Returning in 2016 was discussed but Brian Cody's senior set-up isn't a place for the faint-hearted and another experience like 2015, "the most frustrating year" of his career, didn't appeal.
"It didn't enter my mind that it would be my last day togged out in Croke Park," he said. "I thought I'd be back but I couldn't have asked for a more special moment than to be with Rory (his son) on the field.
"It's not a decision I wanted to have made for me. 2016 wasn't ruled out but with the Kilkenny seniors, you can't pick and choose when and how you train."
Power emulated his father Richie by winning minor, U-21 and senior titles with the Cats but his most memorable day in black and amber was sharing the All-Ireland stage with his younger brother John in the 2014 All-Ireland final replay.
"I'll always remember 2014 playing alongside John," he said. "The two of us in opposite corners and both playing a pivotal role.
"At the final whistle it was special to look for my brother and share the moment with him. I didn't foresee in 2006 that I'd go on to win as many as I did and I'm looking forward to looking back."