IT'S BEEN almost a year since Macquarie fast bowler Jacob Harvey had to say goodbye to cricket because of a serious back injury.
He underwent back surgery late last year and on Saturday will make his return for the Blues in the second half of the Whitney Cup season.
Since playing cricket in the under-15s Harvey noticed some minor pain in his back. Thinking nothing of it, he continued to play both cricket and rugby union unaware of the long-term damage it could cause.
In January last year, the pain was so bad Harvey finally decided to see a doctor, only to learn he had an instrumental bone fusion, which forced him to stop playing.
"The doctor told me that I couldn't play sport again until it was operated on and referred me to a surgeon," Harvey said.
"When I saw the surgeon, he said that I needed to get the operation as it could cause permanent damage to my back.
"They said it was a bit of a mess in there and it needed surgery. So I guess I had no choice ... I had to get the operation."
It was 10 months later that he finally entered the operating theatre and had the surgery, sparing both his sporting career and quality of life.
Harvey spent the past three months recuperating at home in Yeoval until he was able to make his return after the Christmas break against South Dubbo.
Although upset he was likely to miss a season of cricket, Harvey was grateful to be given the opportunity to bat on his return.
“At the moment I feel comfortable batting, which I really like to do. I’m happy with the way I performed on Saturday because I felt 100 per cent,” he said.
Last Saturday, in the one-day game against CYMS, Harvey bowled a couple of overs and picked up a couple of wickets.
He said his teammates were happy to have him back in the team but modestly added that his presence probably wouldn’t determine whether Macquarie made it through to the finals or not.
“Macquarie have put in a few good performances so far and we can only hope for a few wins in the lead up to the finals in March ... we’ve been going all right,” he said.
He said that while he was injured, he was “heartbroken” that he couldn’t play with his teammates and didn’t go and watch them play because it was just too hard.
Once described as one of the best young fast-bowlers in Western Zone cricket, Harvey hopes to reach that standard again next season.
“The doctors have allowed me to come back to bat but not to bowl.
“I can’t start bowling quick again until I build my strength up but I’m good with everything else,” he said.
“If I didn’t quit when I did, I would’ve ran myself into the ground.
“I was in a lot of pain and if I stayed on a bit longer I could’ve done some serious damage to myself.
“So I had to have the operation, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to play sport again.”
Harvey was also a keen rugby union player for the Yeoval Eagles and said he would like to play again but not in the 2013 season.
“I need a bit more time before I can think about playing rugby union,” he said.
In Saturday’s round 10 two-day game Macquarie are coming off a heavy defeat at the hands of CYMS while RSL-Colts were happy enough with their win over South Dubbo.
The game will be played at No.3 Oval.