Josh Mansour has revealed he was ‘petrified’ to see how his teammates reacted to his facial injury, but now he’s just glad he can look at them with both eyes.
Two weeks ago, before undergoing eight hours of reconstructive surgery, the Panthers winger was worried about losing his eye.
That would have effectively ended his NRL career.
“My face was practically caved in,” Mansour told 7 News.
“There was five fractures and four of those fractures were completely shattered. It was pretty much a jigsaw puzzle under my skin.
“The biggest risk was losing my eye.”
The injury came about due to an accidental knee to the face as Mansour defended a high ball against the Titans in round six.
“My surgeon’s done (operations on) over 2000 people and he reckons he’s only seen a dozen like this and they’re all from motor accidents and soldiers,” he said.
“When I was feeling my face it just felt like there was a massive hole. They (my teammates) were trying to turn me and I was petrified to see their reaction.
“Their reactions were scaring me, and I knew I was in a bad place.”
The surgery saw 18 screws and three plates inserted into his face.
Days after the operation, Mansour received a call from Rabbitohs enforcer Sam Burgess.
Burgess played out the 2014 NRL grand final – and won the Clive Churchill Medal – with a broken cheekbone sustained in the very first tackle of the game.
The two spoke for almost 20 minutes, with Burgess advising Mansour against rushing back.
“Another blow to my face in similar fashion, I’d definitely lose my eye,” Mansour said.
“Hopefully round 18, 19, I’ll be back.”
The biggest issue facing Mansour now is his contract situation.
With the likes of Parramatta circling, he could be in for big pay day – but it doesn’t sound like he’s looking to leave Penrith.
“I love its values,” he said.
“It’s a family club. I’ll always fight hard and play hard for this team. I love it to death.”