Wales flanker Josh Navidi is counting himself fortunate that a freak injury has not ended his World Cup dream.
Navidi suffered a dislocated elbow just six days after starring in Wales’ Six Nations Grand Slam-sealing victory over Ireland last month.
The Cardiff Blues back rower has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks, but the 28-year-old knows the injury could have had far more serious consequences with a World Cup in Japan approaching fast.
“I spoke to (Blues teammate) Blaine Scully and he said he was out for six months with a similar injury,” Navidi said.
“I was quite taken aback that I’d come off quite lucky.
“Luckily I spoke to Blaine after the diagnosis – I’m glad that I hadn’t spoken to him before!
“This could have been a lot worse, and I’m thankful that I will be ready for World Cup camp.”
Navidi’s season came to a premature end inside two minutes of the Blues’ Guinness PRO14 derby against the Scarlets on March 22.
He was attempting to clean out a ruck when his arm was struck from behind by Blues scrum-half Tomos Williams.
“It was one of the worst things I’ve felt on a pitch,” Navidi said.
“When I heard that noise I thought ‘something’s gone on here’ and I was rolling around on the floor like an ant with my legs in the air.
“I didn’t know what to do but, fair play to the medical staff, they got it (elbow) back in within 30 seconds.
“I was taken to the treatment room and given a pain-killer pen, but it just felt as if I was getting drunk.
“The pain wasn’t going so I went home and had a couple of whiskies!”
Navidi had a two-hour operation the following week to reattach his forearm muscles to the bone.
His left arm will remain in a brace for the next four weeks, but he is expected to take a full role when Wales’ World Cup preparation starts with a July camp at Fiesch in the Swiss Alps.
That will come as a relief to head coach Warren Gatland as Navidi played such an important role in the Six Nations title triumph when Wales extended their run of consecutive victories to a record 14 games.
“You want to be fresh for those camps to get your body right for the World Cup and give yourself every chance to go for it,” said Navidi, who made his Wales debut in Japan in 2013.
“I’ve been out there at the Under-20 World Cup as well. It’s such a nice country and it will be great to play at a World Cup there.
“With the run of wins we’ve had it’s all about keeping the momentum going right through the World Cup.
“We’ve got a bigger mountain to climb now, but we’ve just got to keep on going.”