Tim Moltzen is still unsure how long he'll be sidelined with the fractured kneecap he suffered in December. Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos. Credit: Robb Cox/NRL Photos Copyright: Robb Cox/NRL Photos
If you Google 'fractured kneecap NRL', you'll be hit with about 39,000 results, but apparently none of them can help Tim Moltzen.
"I'm the guinea pig at the moment. Unfortunately there's not too much out there that we know about the injury, so just take it as it comes I guess," Moltzen says.
The luckless Wests Tigers utility, of course, went down in early December clutching at his knee, prompting everyone to immediately think the worst.
Two knee reconstructions can wreak havoc with anyone's capacity to maintain a positive outlook, much less the bloke himself.
With the last two knee injuries, he was at least face to face with the year-long mental demons that come with them, but Moltzen is chasing shadows with this one.
This particular fractured kneecap seems to have even stumped the club doctor, who still hasn't been able to give the 25-year-old a timeframe on his eventual return in a season he was slated to start in the No. 6.
"That's the hardest thing about this one, the fact that we've never seen it before," Moltzen later told NRL.com. "It's not like a broken arm where you can see, 'Old mate's broken his arm before. We've seen it before.'
"With this we haven't seen it before. For the doc, he doesn't want to give me too much because if I go away thinking one thing, and then come back and it's worse... you know what I mean?"
You've got to give credit to the kid. No matter how many ladders he walks under, or black cats he's crossed, or the fact his knee is literally being held together by a piece of wire, he still won't flinch at the thought of giving the game away.
"None at all... I've got two more years so I've got to work hard at that," he says.
Especially if doctors keep using the phrase "at some stage".
"At some stage, I will [come back]. When you asked if I'd considered retiring... it's just that with this injury, we just don't know," he said.
"We'll only know gradually, we have to go week by week and see if it's healing. So once this has healed hopefully we can get the wire out. It's got a wire running through it. [You're] obviously playing footy on your knees a fair bit, so that could come in the way. So it just depends on how that all feels."
Speaking with reporters before addressing a primary school on the issue of bullying, Moltzen was brave enough to meet some frightening words himself and declare that he would come back from his third major injury in four years.
"I saw the doc last week and was expecting the fracture line to fade away but it hadn't. They could still see it," he said.
"He said it was nothing he's seen before and that it's only really ever happened with impact. Car accidents, people smashing their knees, people tripping over steps... but never the way I've done it, no."
Which, again, is still peculiar considering Google says that Dan Tolar too, had a wire stuffed in there in 2009 and former team-mate Bryce Gibbs cracked his kneecap one year later as well.
But, seeing as though our medical expertise goes about as far as examining a common cold, like Moltzen, we'll give the club doctor the benefit of the doubt.
"I've just got to try and be patient," Moltzen said.