Most NRL players would be delighted not to feel anything after a major injury.
But in Josh Mansour’s case, the Penrith star fears being unable to feel the side of his face that bore the brunt of a damaging collision – five facial fractures – in April.
Almost six months on from the incident against the Gold Coast, the Panthers wing says he still can’t feel the left side of his face.
“I think I’m going to have to live with it,” Mansour tells AAP.
Ahead of Saturday’s NRL elimination final against the Warriors, Mansour said he only feels a tingling sensation when he cops a knock in the face.
He’s been back for seven weeks but only just nearing top form, scoring three tries in his past three games leading into the finals.
Having endured a surgery that lasted over seven hours, Mansour is relieved his facial features have just about returned to normal.
“My looks were hanging by a thread,” he said.
But while his looks are back, he accepts the feeling underneath is beyond repair.
The surgeon, who compared the damage to that of a car crash victim, told the former Kangaroos and NSW Origin representative the nerve damage could take 12 months to heal.
Nearly halfway through that time frame, Mansour has yet to feel his baby daughter climb over his face.
“In places, I can but sometimes it feels like her hand’s not even there,” he said.
“If it doesn’t come back in six months, that’s the way it’s going to be for the rest of my life and you know what, I’ve accepted it. It doesn’t really faze me anymore.”
Mansour described the odd sensation he experiences on a daily basis.
“It’s like electric currents. It’s not pain, but numbness. It’s a very weird and strange feeling.”
Initially, the 28-year-old feared for his future after Titans wing Anthony Don inadvertently kneed Mansour in the face as he attempted to field a cross-field kick.
“At that particular moment I was filthy, I was angry. Not at him, but I was feeling sorry for myself, thinking, ‘Why me?’” Mansour said.
“But at the end of the day, it was a freak accident.
“I’ve just got to move on and can’t hold any grudges. He apologised and that’s all I can ask for.
“I’m just very lucky to be playing footy again.”