Cronulla Sharks legend Paul Gallen has revealed a phone call from former NRL prop George Rose made him “toughen up a bit” and opt against surgery on his torn bicep, ensuring his fight with Mark Hunt would go ahead.
Gallen’s undercard fight against the UFC great was not guaranteed to take place when the former Cronulla skipper suffered an injury to his bicep tendon early in October, with his doctor suggesting he go under the knife.
But Rose, who along with his brothers Matt and Trent is promoting the December 16 fight through their company No Limit Boxing, gave Gallen a dose of reality.
“When I told the Roses about it, I actually got a phone call off George Rose and this is what made me toughen up a bit,” Gallen told Wide World of Sports.
“George says to me, ‘Gal I think you’ve done the same thing as what I did’. I said, ‘Ah yeah. How long were you out for?’ He goes, ‘I played the next week!’ So I thought, ‘Ah shit, I’m going to go and get a second opinion here’.
“So I started ringing a few of the physios I came into contact with at rep teams over the years and they said, ‘Yeah so and so did it, and so and so did it’.”
Gallen didn’t stop there.
“I rang a couple of ex-players,” he said.
“Anthony Watmough did one in a State of Origin game and didn’t even come off the field and didn’t miss a week. Dean Halatau, who lives close by – I had a coffee with him. He did his and he didn’t miss a week.
“So when I spoke to those guys and got told some of their stories I thought, ‘Well maybe I better suck it up and go and ask the doctor if I actually do need the surgery’. And he said, ‘No mate, you don’t need it. You’ve lost a bit of strength but it’s more about aesthetics and the way it looks. If you’re comfortable you don’t have to have it’. So I didn’t have the surgery.”
Gallen was one of the 17 past and present Cronulla players embroiled in controversy following the 2011 peptides program.
The 39-year-old flew to Brisbane yesterday for a sparring session with former world heavyweight contender Alex Leapai, and while his bicep stalled his preparation across October and November, he says he’s now in good nick.
“It’s going okay now,” Gallen said.
“For six weeks there it was not great. I hurt it early in October and didn’t do anything for virtually a month. Then I started doing some pad work and started sparring again probably two weeks ago now.
“I missed a fair chunk of sparring, which is not ideal, but I’m going well now and have been sparring a couple of times a week for the last couple of weeks.”