CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ veteran centre/second-row Lee Gilmour admits he is unlikely to play again this year.
But the much-travelled former Great Britain star insists he will return fully fit in 2014.
Gilmour has not played since Tigers’ defeat at Catalan Dragons – in Daryl Powell’s first game as coach – on May 18.
The 35-year-old was a key signing from Huddersfield Giants at the end of the 2012 campaign, but injury has restricted him to just 13 appearances.
“I have had some nerve damage in my shoulder,” Gilmour explained. “I picked it up in round five against Wigan. I tried playing through it for a couple of months, but there was a lot of muscle wastage in the shoulder.
“I lost a lot of weight and size and I saw a couple of specialists and they came to the conclusion I had nerve damage.”
That was a massive setback, but now two months into his recovery, Gilmour said he is feeling “pretty good”. Treatment involves a daily routine of having an electric pulse run through his body, to stimulate the damaged nerves.
He added: “I saw a specialist again last week. He tested three or four nerves and every one had improved.
“I need to keep working on that and see how far the nerves can recover and hopefully I’ll get back up to full strength again.
“But it’s doubtful I will play again this year – it is six months to two years recovery for something like this and I did it in March. There’s only five games left and I probably won’t be seeing the specialist again for another eight weeks.
“Coming back this year would be a bit of a silly thing to do, considering all the progress I have made. I could be back to square one if I came back and it wasn’t right. I am looking at next season to come back and that is a big year for Castleford.
“We need to have a fully fit and healthy squad with the competition going down to 12 teams at the end of it.
“It is an important year for Castleford for that reason.”
Gilmour admitted his long lay-off has been deeply frustrating.
He said: “Jake Webster and I were playing on the left side together and for us both to be out a for big part of the season is very disappointing, especially with us only having a small squad.”
But the former Wigan Warriors, St Helens and Bradford Bulls star is confident he will return next year with no ill-effects.
He said other players have recovered fully after similar injuries and added: “It is not an age thing, it is a matter of doing things right.
“I don’t think my age at 35 is going to make a difference. It is about doing my re-hab and getting my shoulder right and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t fully recover.
“It’s July now and if the season starts at the beginning of February I have got six months to get it right.
“That’s a long time and I am confident I will get it right by then.”