Paul Hanlon has revealed the operation he underwent in a bid to cure a nagging pelvic injury left him feeling worse than before and wishing he’d never had it.
The Hibs defender ended up having surgery when an injection which was hoped would stop the shooting pain he suffered every time he kicked the ball failed to work. However, after going under the surgeon’s knife, Hanlon, having previously missed 12 matches, started just one more game before the end of the season, forced to watch from the sidelines as his team-mates clinched the Championship title and a return to the top flight after a three-year exile.
Now the 27-year-old is hoping to be fighting fit for the start of the new season, disclosing that although he has been back ahead of the rest of Neil Lennon’s squad working with the physios, he could miss the first couple of days when they report to East Mains on Thursday.
“The only word for it is ‘frustration’,” admitted Hanlon. “It was a ligament issue. I would get a shooting pain through my pelvis when I struck a ball hard. Twisting, turning and all that was fine, my only problem was kicking the ball.
“I had the operation in February and things only got worse after that. I kind of wish it never happened. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I felt much worse after the op – which everyone said was needed and I trust them – than I did before.
“But there’s always that chance. Not every operation will work for you and it didn’t work for me. There have been complications and setbacks and it’s been tough. No-one wants to be sitting in the stand watching their team-mates on a Saturday.”
The fact Hibs were going for the title without him – he had played every minute of every game until the pain forced him to first have the injection then the surgery – only heightened his sense of frustration.
He said: “The day we got the trophy was great. It was brilliant to be involved in the celebrations and see the number of fans who were here.
“However, if you ask any footballer they will tell you that if you didn’t actually play on the day, or feel like you could have contributed more, then it can make you feel a bit subdued.
“But it’s done now and I need to deal with it. I probably tried to come back too early a couple of times due to an eagerness to play rather than actually being 100 per cent fit. I’ll learn from that and hopefully keep myself fit for the whole of this season.
“I’ve been back in with the physio from the start of this week before the rest of the boys and hopefully I can do most of the pre-season and even if I miss the first couple of days I’ll soon be back involved.”