Feldt’s long battle with invisible pain
METRE after metre, Kyle Feldt would continue to push his body as far as he could.
It was a fight against the invisible, a fight against the unknown, but a fight the Cowboys winger was determined to win.
After he had trained through all of the pre-season with the Cowboys squad, it would be the final session before the opening round clash against the Dragons when the winger felt a pain where he had never felt one before.
Feldt missed the first eight rounds of the year after tearing his groin muscle "off the bone" during that training run. A blow that was hard to take for the 27-year-old.
"It is a pretty bad feeling knowing you got through the whole pre-season and on the last day you pick up a bad injury.
"It has put me back a little bit, but I did a lot of hard work with Ash Graham there. There is a lot of rehab in there. You have to do a lot of extra prep to get your body going again, and a lot of fitness to keep it up.
"It took me a couple of weeks to really get my head around that I was going to be out for so long."
A time that was only compounded by the Cowboys tough start to the season, losing five of their first eight games including three straight at home.
"It was not a really great start for us, even if I wasn't injured, just sitting on the sidelines it still would have been hard to watch," he said.
"It's your teammates out there, you can't do anything, and you feel really vulnerable sitting on the sidelines."
It was the first groin injury Feldt had sustained in his 98-game career but it was also one he was not going to let defeat him.
It was the unknown that was the hardest part for the winger. With no visible signs of the injury, it became a process of trial and error under the watchful gaze of Cowboys long-term physiotherapist Steve Sartori.
"It was the first groin injury I have ever had. It is (very different) because nobody knows what is going on," he said.
"You can't really gauge it, it's your personal gauge and I guess the pain threshold is the biggest one you have to go through.
"It is just about running and trying to get your top speed. If you can get top speed without pain then I guess you are right to go. I hit that last week.
"You can't see it. With a knee, you can see if it flares up or swells, same with a shoulder. But with a groin it is weird. It is just something you can't get a gauge on.
"I just really wanted to work hard to get back on the field as fast as I could. These things you can't really push them to get back on the field because if you do push it you have a higher chance of hurting it again.
"It just came down to Steve Sartori saying give it an extra week, another week, another week. But we're all confident in it now."
But Feldt finally got the all clear to return against the Rabbitohs during the NRL's Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium putting in a solid 80 minute performance in the Cowboys 32-16 loss.
Feldt ran for more than 100m with 38 post contact metres but also made three errors in what was a tough afternoon for the Cowboys.
He will return to 1300SMILES Stadium for the first time this season on Saturday night as the fan favourite brings up a milestone 100th NRL game against Parramatta Eels.