CASTLEFORD TIGERS forward Nathan Massey is planning to hit the ground running next year, after playing through the pain barrier in 2016.
Massey missed the end of the season following surgery on a hand injury, but is hoping to be back in full training around Christmas.
The 27-year-old is confident the latest surgery will put an end to his injury woes after struggling for a year with a broken bone at the base of a thumb.
“Last year I broke my scaphoid,” Massey recalled.
“I had a screw put in it to try and unite it together.
“I went back to the specialist at the start of the year, but it was still broken.
“It hadn’t worked and the screw was hanging out. I played through the year with it like that.
“At the end of the year, as soon as we were safe in the Super-8s, Daryl [coach Daryl Powell] made the decision to get it fixed so I could have a good pre-season.
“I ended up having the scaphoid taken out and a metal plate put in and a partial fusion of four of the other bones.
“Hopefully this time it works.”
Massey will be unable to do any contact work at the start of pre-season, but he said: “I’ll be in a better position than I was last year.
“I will be able to do a lot more ball work and stuff like that.
“Around Christmas time is when I’ll start contact work.”
Despite the injury, Massey missed only two of Tigers’ opening 22 games this year, before being ruled out for the rest of the season.
“It’s just been one of those things,” he said.
“Unfortunately it just didn’t heal at the start of the year. I was trying to do my best, playing with pain-killing injections.
“They don’t always work so it was a bit of a struggle, but hopefully it is sorted now and I’ll have no more problems with it.”
Tigers completed their season with a 40-26 win over Widnes Vikings at the Jungle two days ago.
They are due to begin their pre-season campaign in a home game on Boxing Day, with Ladbrokes Challenge Cup winners Hull lined up as their opponents.
Massey said: “I am looking to get a good pre-season under my belt.
“Hopefully I can start off well.
“Next year is going to be big for us.
“We will have a decent, strong squad.
“We have got a lot of young kids coming through and I am sure there will be good competition for places.”