IT'S TAKEN inspirational St Kilda captain Jarryn Geary three surgeries, 30 stitches, 19 staples and a huge wound running down the side of his right thigh that blew up and saw his quad muscle change colour, but the dogged defender is finally on the road to recovery.
Geary needed an emergency operation in the aftermath of the Saints' magnificent round five victory over Melbourne after a bruising collision with Dees speedster Jayden Hunt to save a certain goal.
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He had been playing with a strained right quad, sustained while warming up before St Kilda beat Essendon in round two, and then suffered a separate thigh injury in the following week's loss to Fremantle.
The corkie he copped in the club's season-opener against Gold Coast was unrelated to his compartment syndrome, which came after that contest with Hunt, as Geary detailed to reporters at RSEA Park on Thursday.
"I brushed it aside, to be honest. I've had worse corkies, definitely," Geary said.
"I was in the shower with Jack Lonie and he asked me how I was feeling. I felt a little bit sick and I said 'I'm wrecked, I think I had a pretty physical game. I got a corkie but I'll be right. It'll be fine'.
"It wasn't until I got in the car and started driving home – I battled to get out of the car. My leg had blown up pretty significantly by then. I just thought 'I'll go in and ice it'.
"I was giving my wife (Emma) no help around the house when I got home, so she was not happy with me. She actually sort of cracked it with me."
Geary recounted the story with his typical dry humour, before explaining the call to St Kilda doctor Tim Barbour that made him aware the situation might be more serious than he originally envisaged.
"I started icing it and it just kept getting progressively bigger and the pressure started really getting into the leg," Geary said.
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"It got to about 10.30 and I thought 'I'll go and have a shower and get into bed' and then I thought 'Oh no, I better ring Barbs', so I rang our doctor and he said 'You should go to hospital', so I went to hospital.
"From there, it went really quickly. There were a few phone calls from the emergency doctor to a few surgeons. A few weren't available but luckily, a really great surgeon was available, Arvind Jain, who was brilliant throughout the whole process.
"By two o'clock (on early Sunday morning), I'd had the leg operated on and the pressure relieved."
A device was used to drain his leg and he spent five days with an open wound, although it was covered, so he didn't have to view the gruesome sight.
"They cut it open, put a VAC dressing on it, which is a vacuum to suck out the blood," Geary said.
"So for a couple of days, I had a VAC dressing on, went in again for surgery a couple of days later just to clean it and out and make sure I didn't have any permanent muscle damage, which luckily enough I didn't. We got on top of it early enough for me not to have any permanent muscle damage.
"Went in again, took the VAC dressing off and sealed it up a little bit more. Eventually after three procedures, I was able to get it closed. It was a pretty long week."
As for more serious damage, his haste meant Geary believed that was never really a major concern, although about 5-10 per cent of the muscle had begun to change colour.
"If I had have waited a significant amount of time, I probably would have been in trouble. I got it really early … people have lost legs but I wasn't ever close to that," Geary said.
You can't keep our skipper down.— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) May 2, 2019
He's back on the bike already. pic.twitter.com/sLNZu4tDU8
The 30-year-old's stint on the sidelines will depend on how the wound mends.
"Because the wound's quite significant, in terms of the length of it, I've really got to wait for that to heal," Geary said.
"I can start getting moving, so hopefully today I can jump on the bike and get the legs spinning because I've got stitches and staples in there … but it's all going to be about how the wound heals and then from there, we'll know when I get moving, what kind of condition my muscle is in.
"They don't cut the muscle or do any damage to the muscle, so hopefully that's fine. If that responds really well, it'll probably be a short timeframe, but if it doesn't then it might be quite longer."