DEVON cricket captain Chris Bradley should find out in the next two weeks if he will be able to play this summer, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Bovey Tracey player Bradley, who only took over the captaincy last season, is suffering from a complicated shoulder injury which makes rotating his arm exceedingly painful.
As Bradley is in the side as a spin bowler, if he can't bowl he can't play.
Bradley had hoped to have an operation before Christmas on the injury, but scans revealed that the damage was worse than first thought and surgery was suspended.
Bradley has been told if he has surgery it could take up to three months before he is fit to play – and if he has to wait too much longer the season will be under way.
"I am hoping to see the consultants in the next couple of weeks to find out what my options are," said Bradley.
"If I can have an operation immediately then I should be able to recover from it in time for the start of the season.
"What is involved is detaching ligaments and tendons from my bicep and tricep, then reattaching them. That is why there is such a long recovery time.
"Another option might be to put the operation off again and try to get through the season with cortisone injections to kill the pain.
"The problem with that option is I have been doing that for a couple of years already and you aren't supposed to keep doing it.
"Since the end of last season I have been resting my shoulder completely – no rugby and no badminton – which has helped."
Bradley's injuries are largely a legacy of his rugby days with Newton Abbot and latterly Old Patesians, where he played while studying at college in Gloucestershire.
He has already had three operations on is suspect shoulder, which have included putting surgical pins in to hold everything in place.
Towards the end of last season Bradley found he was in real discomfort when he tried to bowl and knew a visit to the doctor would be inevitable.
"I couldn't bowl in Bovey's last two league games – and that has never happened before," said Bradley.
"I tried bowling in the Devon Cup final at Sidmouth, but wasn't able to do it.
"What ever happens my time as a bowler is limited, so I want to get it sorted and play while I have the chance.
"There is no other way into the side for me other than bowling, so unless I get it fixed I won't be playing."