There is arguably no feeling more disheartening in sport than being forced to sit on the sidelines and watch your teammates compete.
North Melbourne’s Jed Anderson has become too acquainted with that feeling for his liking, suffering a long-term ankle injury in just his second appearance of the season.
After missing North’s Round 1 clash with Port Adelaide due to a calf injury, Anderson was a welcome inclusion to North’s midfield before the injury bug bit again against the Bulldogs a fortnight later.
“I went to receive a handball off of Kayne (Turner) and jumped in the air. As I was coming down Caleb Daniel … landed on top of my leg,” he told North Media.
“Once I went back out there I felt my ankle slip in the joint and it didn’t feel right to play on. If I’m not going to give 100 per cent then there’s no reason for me to be out there.
“It’s really frustrating … after coming back from the calf. It’s been a hard journey this year, and just seeing the boys out there … I just want to be out there helping.”
True to his character, Anderson has attacked his rehabilitation with the same ferocity he attacks the football, aiming to get his body right as soon as possible.
However, due to the necessity of his leg being put in a cast, recovery is progressing more slowly than it would have otherwise.
“I was in a cast for two weeks so I’ve lost most of my calf bulk,” Anderson said.
“I’ve finished the strength stage and now we’re up to more reconditioning.
“I need to recondition that to be able to stand the pressures of AFL footy, being able to change direction and just explode off of my ankle.”
As for when he hopes to be running out with his teammates again, Anderson says his return hopefully isn’t too far away.
While the next few weeks are a crucial time in his recovery, he says he won’t rush his return.
“This week was a really important week to recondition, get the body right and get some kilometres in,” Anderson added.
“I’ve been running for the last two weeks just building up a return to training, then I’ll have a couple of weeks of training and hopefully be back out there playing.
“I’ll be doing everything I can … [I’m] hopefully looking to play about Round 15-17 if I’m ready to go.”