Chris Wilson April 15, 2012
Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese dejected after injuring his knee on Friday night. Photo: Bradley Kanaris
CANBERRA Raiders skipper Terry Campese has denied he and the club recklessly gambled on his fitness, claiming he had medical clearance and felt ''100 per cent'' confident in his knee before breaking down in Friday night's loss to the Brisbane Broncos.
Campese will have scans tomorrow to determine the damage to his left knee, although he remains confident the injury has not put his 2012 season in jeopardy.
The Raiders had been trying to nurse their chief playmaker through to next weekend's representative bye and, even before Friday night's breakdown, Campese had been booked in for arthriscopic surgery this Tuesday to determine the source of swelling around the joint.
Campese defended his decision to play against the Broncos, despite having shadow half Sam Williams on stand-by in Brisbane.
Campese had fluid drained from his knee last Monday, but was given the all-clear by his surgeon on Thursday after an scan showed no irregularities.
Campese said he trained without complication on Thursday and had no concerns about making the call to play.
''I got through that [training session] 100 per cent, I didn't feel under any cloud at all, I felt confident going into the game,'' Campese said.
''[The surgeon] did all the tests, tested out my whole knee and looked over some scans and there was no indications that there was anything wrong.
''I thought the first 20 minutes [against the Broncos] I felt really good, I was on song, I felt confident in my body.''
While it is the same knee Campese ruptured in the 2010 finals series, requiring a full reconstruction, Campese is confident this injury will not be long term.
While Campese is optimistic he won't miss a match, even a medial ligament strain could require up to six weeks' recovery.
Campese had been battling swelling in his knee for the past fortnight, beginning two days after the round five loss to the North Queensland Cowboys.
He then experienced some ''clicking'' in his knee in the first half against the New Zealand Warriors last weekend, but played the entire match after it was strapped.
Campese said he felt no knee pain during either match against the Cowboys or Warriors.
''They say sometimes if a bit of scar tissue breaks off that it makes it click, that was what was happening in the Warriors game, it clicked a couple of times,'' he said.
''It [strapping] was just precautionary, it didn't bother me in the second half.
''I had no pain in the Warriors game where there's pain now. I've aggravated something in there, I'm not sure until I get scans.
''It [the pain] is on the inside so what they're thinking is a bit of meniscus or medial [ligament strain], it's a completely new injury.''
Raiders coach David Furner flew to Sydney yesterday to watch Williams play for Canberra's NSW Cup feeder team the Mounties, with the 21-year-old the most likely replacement for Campese.
Furner said Williams had warmed up before the Broncos match and he was prepared to use him had Campese decided to withdraw.
''I wasn't going to risk it if he [Campese] wasn't right to go,'' Furner said.
''It's too long a season, he's too important a player. There's no way I'd risk him or risk any player in that situation.''
The injury has effectively ruined Campese's representative chances, but the Raiders skipper was more concerned about getting back on the field for Canberra.
''It's a crucial part of the year, we need to be winning games to be in that semi-final race,'' he said.
''Last night knocked us out of that top eight, so I want to be playing footy to get back in that semi-final hunt.''