EDINBURGH MONARCHS’ Australian star Rob Branford today revealed he could be out of action for a further month after injuring his shoulder against Glasgow Tigers at Armadale three weeks ago.
The shock news is both a blow for Branford and the team, but he insisted: “There is no point in rushing back until I’m fully fit – that would be no good to anyone.”
Branford visited his doctor this week and, while it was confirmed he had not broken anything, he was advised not to ride for at least a fortnight and possibly longer if he doesn’t feel right within himself.
Branford told the Evening News: “I’m struggling with the shoulder far more than I had expected and I feel I couldn’t race at this moment in time.
“The doctor has left it up to me to decide when I’m ready to race again. To be honest, I had hoped to be back on my bike last week. It’s obviously very disappointing and I was starting to wonder if there was something more seriously wrong with my shoulder than initially thought. That’s why I went to the hospital on Tuesday and was told the injury is taking longer to heal than first imagined.
“After my fall, I didn’t bother to have any tests or scans carried out on my shoulder, I just went with the advice I received at the time. I have already spent a lot of money on physiotherapy two or three times a week, but it still hasn’t come good.”
Branford confessed he isn’t the ideal patient. He admitted: “It’s been three weeks now and they have been the longest three weeks of my life. I’m getting so stressed out. Being in another country with no speedway to look forward to each weekend is pretty hard going. But I have just got to keep my head and spirits up until I’m ready.”
Branford is conscious of the need for caution before making his track comeback, pointing out: “With injuries, you just have to play things by ear. I certainly do not want to come back too early as that would do more harm than good. I’m only 21 but I’ve already got a load of injuries hanging over me that I’m struggling with. I have got to think I’ve got a long life ahead of me so coming back too soon is not an option really.”
Branford crashed out in the eighth race against Glasgow and recalls: “I have broken a load of bones in my career but knew I had not broken anything when I came down.
“However, I knew I had done something very painful and it hurt a lot more than breaking some bones! I did not go to hospital straight away because I knew nothing was broken. I just decided to bite the bullet at the time.”
When Branford does resume he will drop back down to reserve in the team following a short spell at No 2. “I’ll have some easier races at reserve,” he said. “But I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to prove myself in the main body of the team prior to my fall. I only did two meetings in the No.2 position and only had six outings in total.
“That was my aim this year to hold my own and beat some good riders. And I didn’t give myself the chance to do that.”
Meanwhile, Monarchs return to Premier League action tonight when they host Sheffield Tigers, having already ousted them from the Knockout Cup in May.
The Yorkshire side, despite injury misfortune of their own this season including the loss of No.1 Simon Stead, are currently fourth in the championship table giving them a good chance of reaching the play-offs for the first time in a while.
Monarchs supporters will be hoping for a keen contest, having witnessed one-sided victories for their team against against Redcar and Plymouth recently.