Moments after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, Socceroos veteran defender Craig Moore made the “extraordinary” decision to delay critical surgery in order to play for A-League club Queensland.
Moore, 32, on Wednesday dropped the bombshell that he had been forced out of Australia’s World Cup qualifier in Bahrain next week after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer.
He was diagnosed last Thursday and underwent the procedure on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
Moore, who returned from international retirement for the Socceroos’ 2010 World Cup qualification campaign, is now under the care of a urologist who told the player today that the “outlook is good”.
Follow-up tests will be carried out in six weeks.
He has carved out a reputation as a tough defender during a glittering career.
But his Australian-based media spokesman Ian Hanson tonight revealed just how tough Moore was when he explained how the Roar captain received the shattering news last Thursday.
“The doctor told him he needed surgery straight away. He said ‘you could either have it on Friday or Tuesday’,” Hanson said.
“The first thing Craig said was ‘can I have it on Tuesday so I can play Saturday night’, which is just extraordinary.”
Moore went on to play in Queensland’s 1-0 loss to Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday night.
“He said to the doctor ‘can I do any further damage (by playing)’ and the doctor told him no but added he would need to have surgery immediately after,” Hanson said.
He said Moore found a lump on Wednesday.
“He acted straight away. (Roar coach) Frank Farina said ‘you have to get this seen to straight away, we can’t hesitate’ – the next day they went to the doctor who diagnosed testicular cancer.
“It was a huge shock to Craig, his family and friends.”
But Hanson confirmed the surgery had been a success.
“The outlook is good. In six weeks further testing will be done – but I don’t think we have seen the last of Craig Moore as a player,” he said.
A statement from Moore’s management tonight added: “Craig and his family wish to extend their enormous gratitude to all of their friends within the Australian football community for their best wishes in his recovery.”
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek was shocked at the news as he announced changes to his squad for the Bahrain clash next Wednesday.
“It’s always a shock to hear of a diagnosis like this but I am encouraged by the prognosis from the medical practitioner,” Verbeek said in a statement.
“I speak for the entire team in wishing him a speedy recovery.”
FFA chief executive Ben Buckley added: “As Pim said, we are encouraged by the advice from the medical practitioner.
“I am sure that, with Craig’s legendary toughness, as well as the best of medical care, his age and his general level of health and fitness that Craig will respond well to treatment.”
The Roar were still reeling from the news today.
“Queensland Roar is at this time fully focused on assisting club captain Craig Moore in his recovery from testicular cancer,” a Roar spokesman said in a statement.
“At this point there are no thoughts regarding injury replacement players and the club will be guided by medical advice on a timeframe for Craig’s return to training and playing.
“Craig’s health and wellbeing are of the utmost importance to the club and we will offer him and his family all the support required in order to help him make a full recovery.
“We would ask that Craig’s privacy, and that of his family, please be observed at this time.”