ALL AUSSIE star Brett Delaney wants for Christmas is an injury-free run with Leeds Rhinos.
The 29-year-old forward will miss the Tetley’s Festive Challenge clash with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Boxing Day after undergoing the latest in a series of operations on his right knee.
The micro-fracture surgery has limited him to work in the gym so far in pre-season, but he insists he is confident of being fit for Rhinos’ First Utility Super League opener at Hull KR on February 8.
Delaney played through the pain barrier last season, when he was one of Rhinos’ most consistent forwards, missing only six of Leeds’ 33 competitive fixtures.
“Over the years I have had a few ops on the same knee,” Delaney confirmed. I had an op last year and one when I was a bit younger. I had a micro-fracture about 10 weeks ago and it’s coming along well.
“I have just had cartilage taken out in the last couple of operations, so it wears away.
“With the latest one they basically drill a hole – a micro-fracture hole – so it creates bone growth, it bleeds and it rubs on that, not on my knee.”
Delaney added: “It is feeling strong, but I am not running yet.
“I got straight back in, I didn’t go home – and after surgery I just cracked on with Andy [physio Andy Barker] through into pre-season.
“I have got to get on top of it now. It’s my third op, so I want to get going and aim for JP’s game [Jamie Peacock’s testimonial against Bradford Bulls, on January 25].”
Delaney has endured a series of minor injuries on top of his knee problems and admitted he is keen to show what he can do when fully fit.
“I haven’t had much luck over the last few years,” he said.
“I think I’ve had four ops in three years, or something like that, so that’s a bit frustrating. But other than that, I am pretty good.
“My body is all right. Obviously playing this sport, it is a physical game.
“Being in the middle and being a forward, that [injuries] comes with the game.
“I will be striving now to be fit next year and to play as many games as I can.”
Delaney is optimistic of hitting the ground running when he does return to full training.
He said: “Things are looking good in the gym. I am feeling strong and I am in good hands with Andy Barker and [conditioner] Jason Davidson and Blacky [assistant-conditioner Chris Black].
“They are awesome. The programme they have set me is a personal programme for my body.
“With previous ops I can’t do certain things, it is the best they can give me.
“I am looking forward to having a good year and being consistent.”