Bazza Hayles out for rest of season

last updated Saturday 07th December 2002, 9:01 AM
Fulham striker Barry Hayles has been ruled out for the rest of the season as he is set to undergo surgery on his neck next week.

Hayles has not played since the 3-1 Worthington Cup victory over Bury on November 6 - when the seriousness of the problem became apparent.

Fulham striker Barry Hayles
Fulham striker Barry Hayles has been ruled out for the rest of the season
"Once I got going in games and the adrenaline was pumping, the pain wasn't a problem. But once I'd finished and started to cool down my neck would be very stiff. I just thought it was a muscle strain," said Hayles.

"After the Bury game, I sat down and literally couldn't move my head. At that point I realised it was something more than just a strain."

A medical assessment has revealed a degenerative problem with the discs in the Jamaican striker's neck which puts pressure on his spinal cord.

It was initially thought rest may allow the injury to recover but further scans this week have revealed surgery is necessary.

"It was very dangerous for me to be playing with the injury. Apparently the disc moved towards my spine, which has also led to a nerve problem going down my arm. It was just a case of the pain getting too intense," Hayles said.

"I'm devastated to say the least but it's just one of those things.

"It's very upsetting to be in this situation. The surgeon said I'd probably be out for between three to six months. Realistically I'm looking at making a return next season But I've also been told that I'll probably be able to resume light rehab work with the medical staff within three to four weeks of the operation. At least I won't be laid up in bed, which is a good thing. And the boys have rallied round me which has been really nice. "

Fulham physiotherapist Jason Palmer explained: "Obviously with any neck-related problems we have to take into account Barry's short and long term future, both in football and outside of it."
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