GREATER Western Sydney star Lachie Whitfield will miss the Giants' opening round against St Kilda and has no firm timetable on a return from his liver laceration.
In his first interview since suffering the injury in early February, Whitfield has spoken of the nine nights he spent in hospital and the trouble he still has doing most forms of exercise.
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"You do a whole pre-season ready to go for round one and I won't be playing round one now," Whitfield told AFL.com.au.
"I can't do much exercise at all because the liver is inflamed, swollen up, which has then pushed up my right lung from where it should be.
"Breathing is pretty hard to do, especially through exercise. I've tried a fair bit of running and I'm not fully agreeing with that at the minute.
"I just need the liver to shrink in size, so the lung can cope with it all."
Whitfield sustained the injury in a training mishap four weeks ago and initially thought it was a rib problem.
He said the pain was not too bad, but after some difficulty breathing the following day, got scanned and found the real culprit.
"I got the scan and was told there was a little bleed in there," he said.
"Sometimes if the bleed is miniature you can avoid hospital, but the pain continued and … I ended up spending nine nights in hospital.
"It was a bit worse than we first thought."
It's now just a matter of waiting. Waiting for the liver to shrink, waiting for the lung to move back into the right spot and waiting for blood to circulate right through the body again.
There is nothing the former All-Australian defender can do to rehabilitate.
Unable to exercise, aside from some small bouts on the bike and the occasional 'touch' session, Whitfield has lost a "fair chunk of weight".
The 26-year-old said it was frustrating not having any control over his recovery time.
"I feel healthy in the mind but unhealthy in the body at the moment.
"It's a week-to-week scenario.
"Speaking to the specialists, some people have done it in a bit over a month, some have taken three months, it just depends how quickly mine decides to shrink.
"Injuries are part of everyone's career and I've had my fair share. Injuries like this that are quite rare, and you don't know how to handle them.
"Physically right now, I feel good, I feel like I could go out there and compete, but as soon as you get moving your body changes its mind and that's the frustrating part.
"There's no exact date I'll return, it's just wait and see."