Jack Leitch says he will use Craig Moore as motivation as he battles back from his cruciate ligament surgery.
The 19-year old, who has featured 18 times for the Fir Park first-team, ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) against St Johnstone Under 20s at McDiarmid Park just over three weeks ago.
Orthopedic surgeon at Ross Hall hospital in Glasgow, Professor Gordon Mackay, has developed an innovative new procedure, the internal brace, designed to stabilise the internal joint, thus allowing tissue to recover without traumatic and invasive surgery.
Early results were extremely positive and in May of this year, Leitch’s teammate Craig Moore became the first pro footballer anywhere in the world to undergo the new technique.
The results were staggering – Moore was back available for selection just eighteen weeks later and it would’ve been even quicker but for a minor unrelated rehab setback.
Now Leitch, son of club legend and current Academy Director Scott, has undergone a similar operation and hopes to use Moore as his inspiration.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, the midfielder said: “Obviously no-one likes to get injured, but I am feeling upbeat about things.
“The surgery has gone well and to plan, and I can’t wait to start the recovery process now.
[pullquote]I can definitely draw inspiration from Moorey. He did fantastically well to get back so quickly and but for a setback, he would’ve been back a few weeks ago.[/pullquote]
“He worked extremely hard and I need to follow that lead, mirror what he did and hopefully get the same results.”
It was an innocuous incident at a rain-soaked McDiarmid Park that actually caused the trauma.
Seconds after the whistle had blown to start the second half of a Under 20s game ‘Well eventually ran out 0-1 winners, Leitch went in to challenge near his own corner flag.
However, the fall was awkward and the screams alerted to something serious, as did the universal sign of a serious injury, when a stricken player lies virtually motionless, but for a single arm raised towards the bench.
He was carried off and within days, after the swelling had subsided, he was in Glasgow for a scan to reveal the extent of the damage.
“It’s an unusual one,” he said, with a calm assurance.
“Craig (Moore) did his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) but my problem was around the back, the PCL, and the surgeon said it wasn’t a usual football injury, but something more common in snow boarding or car accidents.
“This is probably the first major injury I’ve had to deal with so it will probably test my character a little bit, but I am sure I will be strong enough to come through it.
“I will now work with Adam Stokes, who is a fantastic physiotherapist, and try and use the time to improve my overall fitness. I am absolutely targeting to be back as soon as possible and want to play as much a part of the current season as possible.”