Manly Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson has revealed what caused his ghastly tongue injury during Sunday’s loss to the Newcastle Knights.
Following the two-point defeat at McDonald Jones Stadium, teammate Curtis Sironen posted an image of Thompson to his Instagram — the 31-year-old’s tongue was split in half, with a healthy amount of blood smeared around his lips.
Sironen captioned the image: “He’s tough the old bush goat.”
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After the photo was uploaded to Twitter, Thompson replied: “Just save my teeth, that’s all I care about.”
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Thompson revealed the injury occurred in the fourth minute of Sunday’s NRL match when he clashed heads with Knights hooker Kurt Mann during a regulation hit-up.
Incredibly, the Manly second rower then played the remaining 76 minutes of the round 14 match with a cut artery in his tongue.
“I must have had my tongue sideways at that moment and it just went straight through,” Thompson told The Daily Telegraph.
“When I saw the blood I thought, ‘F***, my teeth’.
“I was more concerned about my teeth because I thought, ‘I’m going to lose my front teeth here’.
“I thought when I pull my mouth guard out my tooth will fall out.
“I couldn’t have any water or Gatorade, so I just kept on drinking my blood.
“It was just one of those games when you had to grit your teeth and get through it.
“I couldn’t do as much as I would have liked to because every time I moved I was in pain. But I just tried to do my job.”
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Thompson managed 60 run metres during the 26-24 defeat, Manly’s third consecutive loss in the NRL.
After an agonising two-hour bus ride back to Sydney — during which blood was literally “squirting” out of his mouth — Thompson was rushed to a facial specialist who stitched his tongue back together.
Despite the incident, he is expected to play in Saturday’s must-win match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Currently sitting in tenth spot on the NRL, the Sea Eagles will be desperate to rediscover their form ahead of the finals.