Saturday 21 September 2019

I'm doing all I can to give myself chance of making the semi-final

Player Diary: Denis Buckley Newsdesk Newsdesk

While most of the squad had a few days off after a tough game last weekend, I have been working hard in an effort to get back fit.

You end up doing twice as much work when injured, but hopefully it will be over soon enough and I'll be back to play some part in the coming weeks.

My rehab with the physio department has stepped up a lot, but it's amazing how far back you go with just two weeks of non-weight-bearing work. Although I face a race against time to make it back for the semi-final, I want to do everything I can to try and make it, so I'm exhausting every treatment available to try and gain an edge.

Last Monday I was in Galway University Hospital at 7.30am for a consultation with the people in the Hyperbaric Chamber department. Firstly, I had to do pressure testing to see if I was ready for the treatment, and then at 11am my two-and-a-half-hour session began.

You sit inside a pressurised cabin and breathe in pure oxygen to make your body produce more red blood cells than usual, which is meant to be good for your healing powers. I'm not sure what the science behind it for a fractured leg is, but in practice they have seen that it can help in the recovery of injuries. I have had a session there every day this week, so hopefully that makes a difference.


Since I fractured my fibula I have also been using an Exogen unit, which is a new machine recommended by my surgeon, Mr Stephen Kearns. It's an ultrasound device that you use at the same time every day to stimulate bone growth. Like the Hyperbaric Chamber, the gains will be small, but anything I can do is worth a shot.

I have also had a session in a cryo chamber too, which freezes the treated area to -160 degrees and it stops the blood flow around the injury. And once you step out and the blood rushes back to the area, your body releases lots of healing hormones.

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As well as all of that I've been using the Game Ready machine which uses icing and compression to help the healing process. Everything I'm doing is trying to reduce my recovery time. But at the end of the day it is a broken bone and it has to be right before you come back. I have to be realistic about my chances, but if there is the smallest hope that I can be back, I'll do my best to be there.

Since the break happened I had been completely non-weight-bearing, but now that I'm out of the moon boot I have been able to do some work on the bike and rowing machine in the last few days.

I have turned a bit of a corner this week, I am doing a lot more work and at least you feel like you're making progress. Once you get back on your feet, recovery really speeds up.

So while I have been torturing myself in the last few weeks, I also had to watch the boys earn a home semi-final from the sidelines. I watched the game at the Sportsground, I did an interview before the game on the pitch and then went over to the far side to watch the action. With the injury I couldn't stand around too much so we got a table inside and we watched it there.

It was an intense game, and I always find watching is a lot more stressful than when you are playing. But I always had the feeling we were going to win, we looked hungry for it. It turned into a bit of an arm wrestle but, credit to the lads, they really dug deep against a really good Glasgow team.

Glasgow will be frustrated with their performance, but from looking back on the game in analysis we were far from our best as well. There is a lot of areas for us to improve on and if we are to beat them again we'll have to be better in those parts of the game.

Even though I was injured, I still had to do my homework, and I had a good look at the scrum before and after the game. At the start it was tight, they tried to get the upper hand but I think we did quite well and then began to exert pressure on them as the game went on - it was a good battle.

When their tighthead got the red card and the pack was down a man it helped us a bit, but even before that happened we had been doing well - considering we ended up with Tom McCartney playing at loosehead and all four props picked up injuries. We're also in the middle of awards season and it's great that Bundee has gotten some great recognition from all the captains and vice-captains in the Pro12.

I thought he was very unlucky not to be nominated for the IRUPA player of the year and in my eyes he has been the best player playing in the country this year by a long distance.

He won a few awards at the Connacht awards too and along with his try against Glasgow, he's had a good week.

From my own point of view, to be named on the Pro12 Dream Team is great. Two years in a row is fantastic, but it is something that has to be parked for now.

To be honest, I am more interested in winning something with Connacht as a team rather than as an individual. It is great to be recognised for what I have done, but right now all I am concerned about is getting back to full fitness and trying to add something for the last few weeks of the season.

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