DAN COLLIER is back in training with Plymouth Albion after recovering from a worrying infection in his hand.
The experienced lock ended up in hospital the week after Albion beat Loughborough Students on December 12 with the infection moving up his arm.
It was looking like Collier might need an operation but eventually the antibiotics started to work and the swelling went down.
The 31-year-old joined the rest of his team-mates on their return to training after a week off on Monday night and he is hoping to feature in this Saturday’s match against Rosslyn Park.
Collier got the infection through a small cut at the base of his finger after helping Plymouth to a 34-27 win over Loughborough.
“I just woke up the Sunday morning and my hand felt really inflamed,” said the lock.
“I went to the Cumberland Centre and they told me I might have an infection. They drew a line on me and said if the infection goes past the line to go to the hospital.
“I woke up the next morning and it was an inch bigger than it was and I was thinking ‘this isn’t very good’.
“It was my birthday so I left it until about 1am to go to the hospital as I knew it would be nice and quiet then and I basically got seen straight away. But they were like ‘we’ve got to keep you over for the next three or four days’.
“If it wasn’t going to get any better they said they would have to operate – cut it open and clean it out – but luckily it started going down the day after they said that.”
Collier insists he is ready to go again now, with Albion about to begin the second half of their National One season.
“My hand is peeling from where all the swelling and infection was, but other than that I’m all good and ready to go again,” said Collier.
However, Collier, like Ollie Dawe and Jake Murphy, who also missed the Hartpury College game through injury, may have a fight on their hands to get their places back after Albion’s stunning 22-17 victory in Gloucestershire.
Hartpury had not lost at home in nearly a year, but Albion deservedly triumphed there.
“I was very pleased,” said Collier. “It was a tough game as Hartpury have been doing really well, so it was a really good win for us.
“You want the young lads to step up if you are missing. They’ve done a job at the end of the day, so if they stay in the team congratulations to them.”
Collier admits with the return of Jarrad Hayler from navy duties and the arrival of Sam Matavesi, Albion’s back five forward options have increased.
“There’s a lot more of a position battle now,” admitted Collier, who said he would be training hard this week to try and give director of rugby Graham Dawe a major selection headache.
Ollie Dawe and Murphy also returned to training on Monday night, but James Penman, Tom Putt and Cameron Thompson remained on the sidelines.