General Bowman may retire because of neck injury

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North Queensland centre Paul Bowman could be forced into early retirement if a career-threatening neck injury doesn't improve over the next month.

Bowman, 30, was a late withdrawal from the Cowboys side thrashed 54-14 by NRL heavyweights the Bulldogs in Townsville on Saturday night following a meeting with neurosurgeon Eric Guazzo.

The former North Queensland skipper has a disc protrusion in his neck and will be rested for a month before undergoing further tests.

Bowman told AAP today that if the neck did not improve in that period, he faced a difficult decision.

"When the time comes in a month or so I have to weigh up whether I want to have surgery or pull the pin I suppose," said the former Queensland Origin centre, who is signed to the Cowboys until the end of next year.

"There's two choices. Get the surgery and I'll definitely be playing next year or I might have to retire.

"Hopefully it'll improve in the next few weeks."

Bowman has been battling pin and needles in his arm for the past month and had an MRI scan to determine the problem following his side's 26-10 win over Brisbane in round 20.

"It'd be a tragedy if he has to retire because of injury," North Queensland chief executive Peter Parr said today about Bowman, a foundation player at the club.

"We'll see how he is in the next month and then make some further assessments."

Bowman is the latest addition to a long casualty list for the 10th-placed Cowboys, who are also missing playmaker Johnathan Thurston (knee), winger/centre Ty Williams (knee), prop Robert Tanielu (neck), Josh Hannay (back) and possibly captain Travis Norton (shoulder).

The Cowboys have lost 11 of their past 14 matches and might need to win all their final remaining games - against New Zealand Warriors, Newcastle, Souths and Parramatta - to make the top eight.
 

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