Injured Cowboys second-rower Ethan Lowe has revealed the extent of the neck injury that has sidelined him for the rest of the 2016 Telstra Premiership Finals campaign.
In better news than some had feared, there is no cloud over the 25-year-old's playing future, although the recovery time after surgery is expected to be three months.
Lowe suffered the injury in the early stages of last week's qualifying final against the Storm, but "is not laying any blame" on the defensive specialists that have come under fire throughout the years for their ruck control tactics.
"I've just got a bit of a nerve problem in my neck. I'm having surgery in a week or two and should be right to go for next season," Lowe said after the Cowboys' semi-final win over the Broncos on Friday.
"It sort of happened in one of my early carries [against Melbourne]. It happened and I felt it straight away and I just pushed through it.
"It's tough watching the boys and not being able to be out there and try and help out.
"At the moment I've been told about three months, but then again it depends on how I respond to the surgery and the physio.
"We spoke to the specialist on Thursday and he outlined what was happening and at no point was there any talk of career-ending stuff like that. He basically said that I'm done for the season and after we figure out what we're going to do I should be right for next year."
A no-fuss personality who generally shows little emotion, Lowe said he couldn't help but become emotional in speaking with his parents after receiving news that his season was over.
"I was told Monday… Monday was very tough," he said.
"I was pretty emotional Monday arvo but I had time to let it sink in and deal with it, so I'm ready to go and get it over and done with.
"I remember calling mum and dad and I was pretty emotional talking to them. I think mum was a bit more upset than I was. Monday was a very emotional time and Tuesday we saw the specialist and decided a plan of attack.
"At the end of the [Storm] game I talked to the doctor and the physio and decided to have a scan on Monday. Luckily they picked it up in time and were able to deal with it."
"Rugby league is a collision sport. Things are going to happen and you get in tough situations, it's something you can't really control, so I'm not laying any blame at all."
In good news for the Cowboys, Lowe's replacement Coen Hess had the game of his life on the right edge against Brisbane, running 18 times for 188 metres, and appears to be the best possible Plan B for the defending premiers moving forward.
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