"I was told originally I wouldn't be able to play in 2013 and maybe 2014" ... Matt King. Photo: Dean Sewell
South Sydney centre Matt King has revealed he feared his career was over last month after contracting a bone infection in his right arm.
The former NSW and Test representative star broke his arm in last year's finals clash with Melbourne but it had failed to heal properly.
"It was looking like I might have to retire," King said.
"I was told originally I wouldn't be able to play in 2013 and maybe 2014.
"By then, I would be 34 years old and I don't think there would be many clubs keen to sign an old fella like me who hasn't played for two years.
"It would have been curtains, in all honesty."
King sustained the injury when he smashed him arm tackling Storm winger Sisa Waqa but was expected to report for pre-season training fully fit.
However, he knew something wasn't right when he was unable to hold his baby daughter without his arm seizing up and the Rabbitohs' medical team decided to investigate further.
"It was the last bit of news I was expecting when they told me," he said.
"The proper term for it is Osteomyelitis and it's pretty unusual.
"Troy Thompson, our sports scientist, had not seen it before and neither had our team doctor, who looks after Sydney FC and a few other teams.
"So we were travelling a bit blind with it."
King admits he broke down in tears as he drove home after hearing the news.
But the club found another specialist and he was put on a course of powerful antibiotics and is hoping to be back in action within six weeks.
"I got in me old Kombi and I shed a couple after that first meeting. It would have been a bit of a sad way to end my career - a broken arm.
"But all's well ends well, I suppose.
"I've been hammering these antibiotics since December and it appears to have done the trick."
King decided to keep teammates in the dark about the severity of the injury and still reported to training each day with a positive frame of mind.
"Throughout December and January, all I could do was run. I couldn't lift weights - I couldn't do skills," he said.
"But I tried really hard to keep a smile on my face and stay upbeat and I think I achieved that.
"I never told any of the boys my career was on the line - just that I was waiting on my results.
"I can't wait to get back out on the field and join them again."