HE couldn’t stick the landing off his backyard trampoline, but Jack Wighton says he’s “very keen to stick around’’ at the Canberra Raiders for a few more years.
Wighton was on Thursday night given a glimmer of hope by his surgeon that his rookie NRL season may not be over, the 19-year-old Orange junior also hinting he’s close to extending his contract in Canberra until the end of 2014.
Wighton earned the nickname Jumpin’ Jack with an impressive vertical leap and bat-back to set up a try in his NRL debut against the Gold Coast Titans in round two this year.
But it was bouncing around on his backyard trampoline with his six-year-old brother Gene in Orange that may have ended his rookie NRL season after just eight games.
‘’I was jumping on the tramp with my little brother, I was mucking around and I came off,’’ Wighton said.
‘’It was one of those things, bad luck. I sprang off the side, came off on the wrong angle and landed on my foot. I guess I should have been more professional and not jumping on a trampoline but I wouldn’t say no to my little brother.’’
Wighton said it took almost a week for him to realise he’d torn a ligament from the bone in his right foot.
He returned to Canberra a day after the fall and trained twice before getting an X-ray, which didn’t reveal a broken bone.
He tried to train again, before he finally had an MRI which revealed the extent of the damage.
‘’I thought I’d just bruised it or something, it was sore so I just put it in some ice,’’ Wighton said.
‘’I tried training, hoping it’d be all right, but then when it hurt too much [the coaching staff] asked what happened. They’re weren’t very happy at all.
‘’It passes through my mind that I shouldn’t have been on the trampoline, but I’ve got to get on with it now because it’s done, just look forward to the future and try to get back as soon as I can.’’
That could be sooner than first expected.
Initially told his season was over, the latest advice is he could be back inside three months.
Wighton is still on crutches, but intends to return to upper-body training next week.
‘’At first [the surgeon] said two or three months again before I could run, but I think that’s changed a bit,” Wighton said. “I think they’ve got different ideas, it could be earlier. The surgeon said to take it slow, but maybe there’s still hope for this season.
“It’s hard to watch [the games]. I never thought I was going to play first grade this year so I’ve lost a big opportunity.’’
Off contract at the end of 2013, Wighton has continued negotiations with the Raiders to upgrade and extend his deal until the end of 2014.
‘’I’d be very keen to stick around,’’ he said.
The Raiders won’t need to include a trampoline clause, though.
“Mum’s always rousing on me for doing silly things around the house, I think I’m barred from the trampoline now,’’ Wighton said.