All Blacks star Ardie Savea admits he's struggled more than anticipated with the mental fatigue that comes with managing long-term injury.
In December, Savea underwent knee surgery for an injury sustained during the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup semi-final loss to England.
The 26-year-old confesses the monotony of being couch-bound has taken its toll, although he's confident he's now past the worst of it.
"Before I got the injury, I thought I would be okay, if I got a major injury, because I've got a lot going on off the field," says Savea. "But I actually really struggled.
"Something I learned during that journey is I like to be active, I like to go out for walks, and not being able to do that for four or five weeks was quite tough mentally.
"Once I started to be able to walk, I started to find I was feeling better and in the right mental space."
The initial time-frame for recovery was 5-6 months, which would keep him out most of the Hurricanes' 2020 Super Rugby campaign.
On Wednesday, Savea will visit with a surgeon to be re-evaluated and get a better grasp on when he can return to play, but he's keeping his hopes in check.
"Hopefully, he can say I can do a bit more weight on the knee and a few more things, but I'm not expecting anything. I just know it's feeling better each day, so that's a positive."
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