Peterborough Panthers man Ulrich Ostergaard has set himself a three-week target to recover from five broken ribs.
The Danish veteran suffered the injury when crashing out of the table-toppers’ 48-42 home success against Scunthorpe last Friday.
=Ostergaard said: “We have a double-header meeting against Lakeside and Ipswich on August 5 – which is three weeks away - and my goal is to be back for that.
“Whether or not that is possible, I really don’t know at this stage. I’ve been reading on the internet and some people say it could only take a couple of weeks, but others say it is more like six weeks to get over broken ribs.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries in my career, but this is the first time I’ve tried breaking my ribs . . . and I can tell you it is very painful!
“It hurts when I’m standing up, it hurts when I sit down and it really hurts when I try to lie down. I’ve barely slept since the crash.
“I love riding for this club and it’s great to be part of a team having such a good season. We’re top of the league and we’ve already won a trophy in the Fours so I’m gutted to be out for a while.
“Aside from taking a lot of pills, I don’t think there’s much you can do with broken ribs. I’m open to anything that can potentially speed up the healing process though.
“I know a couple of the Danish guys have tried an oxygen tank in the past so that’s something I may look at.”
It’s the third serious crash to involve Ostergaard in what has become a frustrating personal 2018 season.
He suffered a shoulder injury and extensive mechanical damage following an early-season spill when guesting for Lakeside at Berwick. Ostergaard was then fortunate to escape with only concussion and whiplash from a frightening Alwalton smash last month when, just as on Friday night, he lost control going through the fourth bend.
And while his latest crash certainly didn’t look to be as bad as those previous two incidents at first viewing, it has left him out of action.
“I have to admit all three of the crashes have been my fault as well,” added Ostergaard. “I guess that’s how it goes sometimes.
“In some years you can get through a whole season without a crash or an injury, but this year I seem to be unlucky.
“I thought I’d broken my shoulder in the first crash at Berwick, but got away with some ligament damage and I was lucky not to be more badly hurt last month.
“But I knew I was in a bit of trouble on Friday as I was struggling to breathe. I’m guessing I either landed hard on the track or whacked myself on the handlebars of the bike.”
Team boss Carl Johnson admits the loss of Ulrich Ostergaard to injury has left Panthers in a tough spot.
It is unclear how long the Danish racer will be out with broken ribs, while there is also a shortage of potential new signings for the club to consider.
That means the most likely scenario is they rely on using guests or the rider replacement facility during the 37 year-old’s recovery. Unless Ostergaard makes a much faster return than most people expect
“Losing Ulrich puts a spanner in the works,” said Johnson.
“He looks in a lot of pain so I’m thinking he might be out for closer to six weeks rather than being able to be back in two or three.
“Ideally we wouldn’t want to rely on using guests or rider replacement for that length of time as it takes us close to the dates of the play-offs, but there isn’t an obvious rider out there who we could sign for 28 days either.
“I don’t see many clubs making changes to free up riders, but we wouldn’t necessarily want to bring in someone who has been released by another side anyway.
“If we do go down the route of booking guests, we have to choose wisely and ensure we get people who are guaranteed to give 110 per cent.
“We’ve used Ben Barker successfully in the past and it could be that we look to him again.”
Panthers must also be aware of the August 12 cut-of date for clubs to make new signings.