GEORGIA Wareham has been here before.
Surgery, recovery, rehabilitation. Repetition, small gains, progress.
The Australian cricketer, originally from Mortlake, first tore her anterior cruciate ligament playing football as a 14-year-old.
Her second major knee complaint arrived this past October, just weeks after her Test debut. Her match in the baggy green was meant to mark the start of a long and prosperous career in the format many consider the pinnacle of cricket.
Almost five months on, the 22-year-old is over the disappointment. Recovery this time around has a different feel to it. She has access to a world-class rehabilitation facility, physiotherapists and doctors on demand.
I haven't necessarily always been a huge turner of the ball but I think that'll be a bit of a focus when I can start bowling again.- Georgia Wareham
"I've had two operations since then. The most recent one was about three weeks ago. I'm just in the knitty gritty of the rehab at the moment and just ticking through that annoying stuff but I'm seeing little improvements every day which is nice," Wareham told The Standard.
"It's been pretty different to my first one. Having a lot more support around is completely different to what I had at that age. I was in a pathway program, training once a week and travelling down.
"Now, I'm in at (Junction Oval) every day and I've got a lot of support from the medical team in terms of physio treatment and whatnot getting the best advice from everyone. In that sense, it's been a lot different."
Wareham spent the initial weeks after her injury at home in Mortlake. She spent time on the couch watching the Women's Big Bash League and feeling envious of her teammates able to hit the field.
But that soon turned to motivation to get back.
"I've always enjoyed playing for Australia and that's what I want to get back to so it's really good motivation to get through this - for a lack of a better word - shit rehab," she laughed.
"Obviously it's tough to be watching the Women's World Cup now and not being a part of it but it's a bit of motivation to be able to work through and hopefully be on the field the next time they play something like this."
Wareham is unsure exactly when she'll return to the field but early indications suggest she'll be able to resume light training - potentially batting - at the six month mark of recovery.
A return to the field and bowling is likely to arise at the nine to 12-month mark. She said modern management of anterior cruciate ligament injuries involved getting a bulk of rehab done early to fast-track recovery.
"I think for me, I've always just tried to figure out how I'm going to spin the ball the little bit more," she said.
"I haven't necessarily always been a huge turner of the ball but I think that'll be a bit of a focus when I can start bowling again.
"But I think the first thing I'll be able to get into is batting so hopefully I can spend a lot more time as a batter and figure out who I'm going to be as a batter. I think a lot of people come off long-term injuries and spend a lot of time with bat in hand.
"Hopefully I might be able to become a bit more of an all-rounder than I am at the moment but I think there are a lot of cool opportunities for me."
Wareham said she was proud of the women's game's growth.
The Standard revealed in February the Warrnambool district is among Australia's highest growth areas for the female game in terms of teams and players per capita.
"It's pretty cool to be a part of. I think the world cup that we had in Australia was just a real testament to that," she said.
"Getting 87,000 people there to watch a game of women's cricket - if someone had've said that five years ago you'd tell them they're joking.
"But just to be a part of that and to be able to see it now, and see how it's happening, that's really special."
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