TRENT Copeland should have spent Tuesday evening with his NSW team-mates reflecting on a stellar performance with the ball that very nearly led the Blues to a Sheffield Shield win over Tasmania.
Instead he was in a Hobart hospital.
As NSW pressed for victory at Bellerive Oval on the final day of their shield match against Tasmania – a fixture that was ultimately drawn - James Faulkner edged a delivery and it flew to Copeland at slips.
The Bathurst star, who at that stage had figures of 8-119 for the match, damaged his finger trying to take the catch.
He left the ground immediately and was taken to hospital, the talented quick not checking out until just after 11am on Wednesday morning.
Copeland is now in extreme doubt for NSW’s next shield match due to start on December 5 in Adelaide against South Australia.
NSW assistant coach Geoff Lawson said the finger in question was "a bit of a mess".
"His finger's going sideways and the bone is sticking out,” Lawson said.
"I'd say Copes would be out [of the next match] - it is his bowling index finger, it's the most important part of his body, basically.”
Copeland’s absence would be a big blow given his efforts with the ball in Tasmania.
After NSW batted first and made 5-495 declared, Copeland backed up his batsman with a standout bowling performance.
He removed opener Ben Dunk and two balls later had the experienced George Bailey out leg before wicket for a duck to make it 2-11.
In his second spell he had Ben McDermott, who was travelling well on 45, out caught behind, before dismissing Faulkner in the same fashion.
Beau Webster and Hamish Kingston also fell victim to Copeland as the hosts were all out for 209, giving NSW a lead of 286.
Copeland took 6-54 off his 33 overs – 16 of them maidens – and had the excellent economy rate of 1.64.
It was the sixth time in his first class career that the 30-year-old had taken six or more wickets in an innings.
In a commanding position, NSW made a quick-fire 1-128 declared to leave Tasmania a chase of 415 for victory.
The hosts then had to face a session late on the third day and once again Copeland struck.
In the third over he dismissed Dunk – his 250th first class victim - to make it 1-2, and when stumps were called Tasmania was 1-24 and still needing 390 to win.
Copeland took another wicket on the final day to finish with 2-65, but thanks to an unbeaten century from Faulkner, Tasmania held on.