Panthers winger David Simmons has revealed he will play with a nagging knee injury for the rest of the year, opting not to have surgery that would end his season.
Similar to the injury that Roosters prop Sam Moa bravely played with last season, the veteran flyer dislocated his kneecap in Penrith's Round 1 win over Brisbane and after popping it back into place, also played on.
"It went out, and then I put it back in and [trainer] Ronnie [Palmer] came out, [I]had a little jog around on it. It didn't feel terrible, so I thought I'd stay out and could finish the game there so it was okay," he said.
"I didn't have to look. It's funny, Kevvy Kingston came over and he was trying to stop me from touching it, but it just slid back in pretty easily. I think the boys that saw it felt a bit sicker than I did."
Scans later revealed a dislocated patella, an injury that normally would require the former Shark to go under the knife and miss an extended period. But after discussions with the club's medical staff, Simmons decided to postpone surgery until the end of the season.
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The 29-year-old missed Penrith's Round 2 loss in Melbourne and when winger Josh Mansour succumbed to a hamstring complaint, he returned early to score a try and set up another for centre Dean Whare in last Saturday's victory over the Bulldogs.
"It's still sore now. There's some stuff in there that's not going to get better, but it's not really going to get worse either unless I do it again," he said.
"It's something that I'll have until I get surgery, but if I can play with it and don't hurt it again, I'll be able to leave that until I'm retired and I'll get it fixed up.
"I wanted to play [against the Bulldogs]. I was very close to going to Melbourne, I just pulled out at the last minute – it didn't feel right.
"But it was then that I knew that I was going to play the next week. It's a shame that Josh was out. It made it easy for me to get back in because both [Mansour and Kevin Naiqama] played so well."
The news is better on five-eighth Jamie Soward, who has declared himself 100 per cent recovered from the back spasms that have plagued his first few games with the Panthers.
Like Simmons, the former Dragon also missed the loss to the Storm but came back for the Bulldogs clash, laying on a last-minute try for Naiqama that tied the game.
"I sat out Melbourne because of back tightness and I didn't goal kick during the week and so Matty's been kicking them great at training," he said.
"I just had stiffness. It's been a long pre-season for myself and obviously the Super Leagues not as physically demanding as what the NRL is, it's just one of those things. All good now though."
Whether the headgear-wearing maestro regains the kicking duties however, depends on coach Ivan Cleary, with co-captain Peter Wallace named to come back from his groin problem this weekend.
"[The goal-kicking's] a strength," said Soward. "I mean, you saw [on Sunday], Parramatta with the goal-kicking. It's an important part of the game and sometimes it's a thankless job, you're supposed to kick every goal. And look, Matty kicked fantastic on the weekend, Wall's back this week, we'll wait and see what Ivan wants to do."