Cal Crutchlow painted a grim picture of his right forearm, after complications following aggressive arm pump surgery ahead of this weekend's opening Misano MotoGP.
Normal arm pump surgery involves cutting the fascia, a non-elastic membrane that wraps around the muscle, in order to release pressure on the muscle, improve blood flow and reduce the classic 'arm-pump' numbness.
But Crutchlow, who thinks he has now had five arm-pump operations, underwent complete removal of the muscle fascia. A much rarer operation that, in MotoGP, was last undertaken by Dani Pedrosa in 2015.
Pedrosa had surgery on April 3 and didn't return to MotoGP action until May 15.
Crutchlow has only had two weeks recovery time and is also battling complications due to a huge amount of fluid building up inside the arm, meaning he must ride with a pad placed over a gaping hole through which he can see the muscle.
"What has happened in the last days has been a disaster," Crutchlow said on Thursday at Misano. "I have litres and litres of fluid, called seroma fluid, coming out of the arm.
"I've had every day this week in hospitals, back home I went to the hospital to have the dressing changed, then all the fluid came out. The next day I went back and had a new dressing and the fluid came out. Which is good because it needs to come out.
"But there was a hole in the scar. Yesterday I had the hole stitched back up, because to me if you see a muscle moving in your arm and you're going to go and try and ride a motorcycle, it's not the greatest.
"Then this morning I woke up and I couldn't even see the bones in my hand. It was that swollen with the pressure from the fluid. So today we've taken the stitches back out and let the fluid come out again.
"Yes, I have a pad over it, but if I take the pad off I see my muscle inside of the hole. Which is obviously not good for infection. I have antibiotics, I have antibiotic spray. Everything you can do, I've done. No stone left unturned. I've done a hyperbaric chamber for 10 days, ice compression. Everything.
"But at the moment this is the situation and hopefully it'll calm down. When, I have no idea.
"What I have is quite a normal thing. This seroma fluid happens to some people and not others. Fabio had it when he had his [arm done] as well. But the problem is mine is going to produce a lot more because I've had 15 more years racing than him.
"If you remember the last time somebody had the fascia out [not just cut] in MotoGP was Dani and he had six weeks off. So me trying to ride tomorrow… I've had two weeks."
Crutchlow – who thought his arm pump problems at Jerez were down to his right arm compensating for a left wrist injury - said he needed the operation after recent scans confirmed the previously cut fascia had grown back.
"I had arm pump after Brno. I didn’t really have it in the first Austria race and then in the second I had it again," he said. "But obviously I went for the checks first, with the MRI scanner we could see a lot of compression in there. So when they opened it they said they could see a new fascia forming over the top and took out everything."
The LCR Honda rider also posted graphic pictures of his operation on Instagram.
"If you look at the pictures, the top muscle looks completely clean, like a nice piece of steak, and the bottom part – which is really in trouble – looks like it's been abused for years. And that's the reality."
At least passing the MotoGP medical test had not been a problem, since strength in the arm is not an issue.
"I will ride with a pad on it but it's not a strength test thing. I'm strong enough. So they were fine to let me ride," he said.
But riding and racing are two different things.
"The expectation is always to race, but whether it happens or not I don't know," Crutchlow said. "The worst situation that could have been, has been, because now I have 9 races in 11 weekends and I need the arm to recover.
"But maybe I'll ride tomorrow and there will be absolutely no problem at all. But what is evident is that the more I use the arm, the more fluid I have. And I need to stop the fluid somehow. But there is no quick fix for this. We will see tomorrow.
"What I'll do tomorrow is I'll come here [for media zoom interviews], open the pad and show you what's coming out! Then when people say 'why doesn't the rider get results blah, blah, blah...' Motorcycle racing is the best job in the world but doing the shit I've done this week, then they'll start to understand.
"Anyway, if I'm back on the operating table tomorrow, I'll bring the zoom live in!"