Creek’s brave back pain battle revealed

South East Melbourne Phoenix star Mitch Creek’s back has been so bad at stages this season that he couldn’t get out of bed.

Creek hasn’t missed a game this NBL season, but he has endured a private battle with his troublesome back following surgery last year.

He particularly struggled in the lead-up to South East Melbourne’s round 6 NBL Cup win over Brisbane before going out and dropping a game-high 29 points.

“I couldn’t get out of bed until the morning of the game,” Creek revealed.

“From Tuesday until Saturday I was in bed, and it felt like someone had flicked you in the back and spine really lightly and then you’re like, ‘Oh no, here we go again’.

“Within an hour or so I was like a pretzel and I couldn’t move.

“I didn’t get any practise with the team, and I just ran out there and played.

“I’ve had a few issues with my back – one in the pre-season and then after the Brisbane game.

“I’d love to say that I’ve been injury-free, but I think myself and the staff have done a tremendous job at masking injuries.”

Mitch Creek has bravely defied his dodgy back to play this season. Picture: Martin Keep/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Thankfully, Creek’s back has settled down in recent weeks thanks to his meticulous approach to recovery.

The Phoenix staff have also devoted endless hours to ensuring his back is physically able to play.

“I’m all good now – I’m like a wet noodle,” he said about the back injury, which prematurely ended his season last year.

“My back aggravates quickly, and it comes down slowly.

“I’d like it to be the other way, but you get on top of it straight away and you do what you have got to do.

“There are an array of rehab things you do to mitigate the risk, and that is what I’ve done.

“I’m back training and playing well and I’m fit, healthy and happy to be feeling 100 per cent again because I haven’t felt that way for a few weeks which is important coming into a busy part of the season.”

You could understand if Creek felt frustrated about dealing with his ongoing back struggles.

Of course, he has his down days, but for the most part he is determined to push on in a bid to help his team win.

“You just have to suck it up and play through,” he said.

“There are always going to be people carrying some kind of injury, regardless of how good you are.

“Injuries are a part of the game, so we just have to adapt and overcome.

“I think everyone on our team has been playing with some sort of injury, especially with the short time frame between games in the NBL Cup.

“Other teams are going through it. Melbourne (United) have lost quite a few of their stars, but they continue to find ways to win.

“Credit to them – we’ve just got to try and do the same thing.

“It is that toughness that we really have to try and instil in each other.”

South East Melbourne star Mitch Creek is primed for a big game against defending NBL champions the Perth Wildcats on Wednesday night. Picture: Martin Keep/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Creek is coming off a 25-point game in a big win over Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks heading into Wednesday’s clash against the Perth Wildcats.

He is happy with the Phoenix’s form, especially without injured stars Keifer Sykes, Adam Gibson and Dane Pineau, but he believes the side needs more consistency to compete with the NBL’s best teams.

“We’ve lost a couple of easy ones that we probably should have won,” he said.

“There are a lot of promising signs, but we’ve got to try and string those extra possessions per half together to give us that six-to-10-point buffer that we are trying to search for every game.”

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