'I went numb down my leg and back' RICHARD KNOWLER 30/05/2012
Some padding on his tender pelvis and a wistful request his opponents don't unleash a ''shot'' on him will be part of Kieran Read's routine when he prepares to play the Highlanders on Friday night.
Read will return to No 8 at AMI Stadium after missing the Crusaders' Super match against the Blues on May 19 because of the painful injury he suffered when he was dropped from a height in a lineout during the 28-19 loss to the Rebels in Melbourne the previous week.
It was a moment when everyone who witnessed the ugly incident sat bolt upright and no-one was more concerned than Read himself.
As he lay on the AAMI Stadium turf he wondered if he had suffered a severe injury because of the lack of feeling down one side of his body.
''I went numb down my leg and my back, so I couldn't feel my left leg. It was pretty painful, so that was why I stayed down,'' he reflected after Crusaders training today.
''It took a few minutes until it (the feeling) slowly came back. It was a little bit scary initially but the doctor is pretty experienced and she kept me pretty calm, kept me breathing which was good.
''It was a bit of a shock initially. Things happen - you are pretty scared. But I'm pretty thankful it is just a minor injury.''
After a few minutes on the deck and some consultation with team doctor Deb Robinson, the All Blacks loose forward climbed to his feet and gingerly left the field.
Having only just left the bench Read had only been on the field for around a minute before his lineout lifters lost their grip on him.
There was no rancour with those team-mates who should have been supporting him, he said.
''No way. It is just one of those things, the boys are doing their best. It was probably because they got me up so high.''
Read is now preparing to start alongside Richie McCaw for the first time this season.
McCaw's delayed entry because of his foot problem meant he was used as a replacement against the Reds and when he started against the Rebels his international back row team-mate was on the bench.
Their combination, all going to plan, should spell trouble for the Highlanders.
McCaw, who started at No 8 against the Rebels, returns to openside flanker for the southern derby and Matt Todd shifts to the bench.
Last weekend's bye may have halted the Crusaders return to form following their 59-12 blitzing of the Blues on May 19 but it could not have been more timely for Read who only began running at full pace last week.
''It was a good time to get it fully recovered. It (the bruised hip) is still padded up and hopefully I will not get too many shots. We will wait and see on Friday.''
Meanwhile, Read also seemed bemused by the concept of players being selected for next month's North-South match in Dunedin on the basis of where they play their Super Rugby rather than their origins.
''It is an interesting one. I would have presumed it was where you were brought up, that would add a bit of space and flavour to the match-up I think - a few different combinations that would have been interesting. But I guess they have their ideas as well.''
Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), George Whitelock, Samuel Whitelock, Luke Romano, Ben Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Owen Franks, Tom Donnelly, Matt Todd, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Tom Marshall.