Curry’s surgery involved reshaping the head of the femur, fixing the labrum tears and sewing them up, before adding some synthetic cartilage and covering it with stem cells. The extensive operation was Curry’s preferred choice out of three possible options.
“One was to leave it; that wasn’t going to happen the way I was walking and running. Two was [the surgery], and then three was the resurfacing where they put the metal in. I wasn’t ready for that, I wanted to keep my hip. The surgery was the best option of the three.”
Murray was 31 when he opted to undergo hip resurfacing surgery back in 2018, after suffering with pain in his joint for a number of years. Curry, who won his 50th cap for England in their final World Cup match last November and has three Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions, is still only 25.
After spending the first two weeks following his operation living downstairs at his parents’ house while he recovered, Curry has since enthusiastically dived into this rehabilitation.
“[The medical staff] wanted me on the bike the day after the surgery. After two to three weeks I was able to start gently rehabbing, loosening the hip up. Honestly, straight away you could feel it. As soon as I was able to move it to the side my hip just kept going. It was a refreshing feeling.
“After the scan, the first few weeks were tough because it was just accepting it. There were a lot of unknowns. You are a bit helpless. You have all this information and you are sat there just waiting. Once the surgery was done, I was flying. You can start getting better and feeling better.”
‘It is about almost teaching yourself to walk again’
Despite those positive developments, Curry added that the reason no deadline had been set for his return was to not apply any extra pressure to an already intricate recovery process, which has included re-learning how to walk and run.
“It has been pretty relaxed,” he said. “In terms of coming back to play, I still don’t really know. It is day by day. If you take a step and your hip feels bad, your mood goes down. If you do that and your hip feels good, your mood goes up.
“So it is about trying to get rid of all that stuff and keeping it as simple as possible.
“The main thing is to start the running mechanics again. We have been focussing on the strength of the muscle but now it is about being able to use that within the range. We have done stretching but it is about almost teaching yourself to run again – even teaching yourself to walk again. Every week it just gets better.”
That has meant that Curry has been a spectator at home watching England start their new World Cup cycle, with the former England captain understandably vexed at being unable to help his country in the Six Nations.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but it gives you a bit of an edge going into your next training session, you have a jump in your step. You have something that you want to go for and, watching England, it gives you that drive to push on and work a bit harder.”
While a return for Curry seems some way off, certainly next season rather than in this campaign, the positive news of his continued progress should come as a boost for both Sale and England supporters despite such a major operation.