Frustrated forward Brett Delaney hopes to be available for Leeds Rhinos’ home clash with Huddersfield Giants on Thursday, February 26.
Delaney missed last Sunday’s win at Hull KR in First Utility Super League round one and was the only member of Leeds’ senior squad not to play in pre-season.
The Australian second-rower had a knee operation at the end of last season and was ready to return to full training when he damaged an ankle at Rhinos’ camp in Jacksonville, Florida, a month ago.
He said: “I had my knee drilled in September, a week after we got knocked out [of the play-offs] and the week after that I was in physio and re-habbing it and training really, three days a week.
“I was flying and everything was on track, then we went to Jacksonville and in my first session with the lads unfortunately I jammed my ankle up – I had a bit of fluid in there.
“Being my first training session that was a bit disappointing, but that’s done now and my ankle’s good.
“It’s just about getting my knee right.”
He added: “I started running last week and I just need to get some Ks in my legs.
“I missed five months of running, so it’s just about getting that back.
“I want to get my knee right, get my strength back and move forward with that again.
“I was on top of it, coming in and doing my work, then obviously I had a setback, but that’s rugby.”
Stevie Ward stepped into the second-row against Hull KR, with Mitch Achurch coming off the bench.
Providing Rhinos come through Friday’s visit of Widnes Vikings’ unscathed, Delaney’s return will give coach Brian McDermott a welcome selection headache for their next game, 13 days later.
“It was just one of those things,” Delaney said of the injury. “It’s sweet now though, so I can see the light.
“I am working with Jason [Davidson, Rhinos’ head conditioner], trying to get those Ks up and get fit and hopefully I will be up for selection for the Huddersfield game.”
Delaney has 140 appearances to his name since making his Rhinos debut in 2010.
He played 28 times last year and said he’s aiming to make a big impact this season.
“I want to come back fit,” he said.
“I’ve had a few ops on the same knee now and I need to come back and really be firing on it.
“I need to get my knee right and get fit, so that’s the plan.
“The knee is fine, it is strong and I was on track, but I just had a setback with the ankle.
“That’s settled down now and I am cracking on with my knee and getting some running into my legs, because I haven’t been able to do that. It’s feeling good, touch wood. I ran three times last week and again on Monday, but I didn’t have a full pre-season so I need a couple of weeks of training under my belt before I come back and play.”
Rhinos have no game next week.