Kieran Foran has suffered hamstring grief in all bar two seasons of his NRL career, and is resigned to managing the back injury behind it for the rest of his rugby league days.
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs star's ongoing battles with a bulging disc draw parallels with those of former Australian Test cricket captain Michael Clarke, who managed similar back and resulting hamstring troubles over his glittering international career.
While both Clarke and Foran's issues with their lumbar five vertebrae resulted from seemingly innocuous injuries in their teens, Clarke was diagnosed with three 'degenerating' discs that plagued him particularly in his 30s as he skippered Australia to World Cup and Ashes triumphs.
Foran's back problems are not as severe but they have been linked to the 27-year-old's ongoing hamstring injuries which have sidelined him for at least one game, and often several more, in each season bar his 2011 and 2013 campaigns for Manly.
After managing just 26 games from a possible 48 at Parramatta and the Warriors due to shoulder, back and hamstring injuries as well as several off-field issues, Foran maintains his faith in the Bulldogs staff charged with keeping him on the paddock.
Foran: I doubted if I could return
"My back's been terrible since I came into first grade, what most people wouldn't know about me is I had a bulging disc when I came into first grade back in 2009 and that was the year I debuted," Foran says.
"...It was at training one day at Manly in 2009, I just bent down in a pretty innocuous sort of tackle and got a bulging disc in my L5.
"There's no doubt that it's contributed to my hamstring issues over the years. It's something that I have to continually stay on top of, my back's not great.
"Sometimes I get out of bed, hobble to the bathroom, and after games it's not great.
"…[But] I've been training and doing all the field work for the last few months, and I've been able to get on the paddock every day and train with the boys which is great.
"I've done all the bikram yoga, yoga, Pilates. Everyone has their different theories on what would work for it… I've found a really good routine here at the moment that the guys have set up for me and it seems to be going well.
"Fingers crossed I can have an injury-free year."
With a lucrative three-year Bulldogs deal bringing him back to Sydney and close to his young family, Foran is happy and enjoying his footy again after battling well-documented gambling issues and depression.
To repay Canterbury's faith he sacrificed a World Cup campaign last November to get his body right.
But such were his physical struggles, teammate Michael Lichaa was wondering before Christmas "how is this guy going to play rugby league? He's battered and bruised".
One-on-one running technique sessions with Olympic sprinter Matt Shirvington, now a speed and agility coach with the Dogs, have played their part in keeping Foran on the paddock, as has targeted strength work in the gym.
With consistent, injury-free game time, the Canterbury No.7 is aiming to regain his status as one of the toughest and most influential halves in the game, and lift the Bulldogs above a 1-3 record that has them sitting 14th after a month of football.
"I personally don't think I'm back to where I'd like to be... and where I need to be for this team," Foran says of his gradual return to peak form and fitness.
"You can't get frustrated with it. I've been around footy for long enough to know that you've just got to work hard and put time and effort in on the training paddock.
"For me personally I'd like to be playing better footy at this point.
"I set the standards high, I know where I want to be as a player and hopefully in the coming weeks the more games I'm playing and gelling with those combinations, hopefully I can hit some really good form."
Foran on the missed conversion