Sheridan over injury demons
England prop reveals long journey to recovery
Last Updated: 03/11/10 5:19pm
Sheridan: Lengthy lay-off
Recalled England prop Andrew Sheridan has revealed the anguish he faced when first starting the long road back from his serious shoulder injury.
The Sale player suffered a dislocated left shoulder when a scrum collapsed during the Sharks' Heineken Cup contest against Cardiff Blues just over a year ago.
Medics at Sale needed an off-duty specialist to put Sheridan's shoulder back in place and the prop subsequently underwent a four-hour long operation.
When the powerhouse front-rower was finally able to return to the gym, he found he could lift nothing more than one-kilogram mini-weights.
But now he has returned to full fitness, Sheridan is ready to get back to his destructive best in the first of England's Investec Internationals against New Zealand on Saturday.
"They are a very physical team but I am relishing the opportunity," Sheridan said.
"The surgeons were always confident I would come back from it but there was extensive damage and it took a lot of time and rehab.
"There was old damage from lots of years of playing and when it dislocated it tore off the rotator cuff. It was a long operation and for the first few weeks afterwards I was struggling.
"The lowest point was probably when I was lifting these one kilogram weights. I would have to wait until everybody had left the gym and I'd keep the lights off and hide in the corner!
"It picked up after a couple of months and I gradually got strength back in it. The chance to get back and play in a big Test like this one was a real carrot."
Sheridan admitted that he was prompted to reflect on his own situation after fellow England prop Phil Vickery was forced to retire through injury recently.
But even though his shoulder still requires constant maintenance, the 31-year-old says he will be holding nothing back when he runs out at Twickenham.
He added: "I am getting older and when you have had major injuries you realise you have to make sure you try and enjoy the games coming up because you may not get another chance.
"Once I am out there playing the shoulder is not on my mind."