INJURED RECRUIT Nathaniel Peteru is aiming to be back in action for Leeds Rhinos this month.
The Auckland-born prop has been dogged by bad luck since joining Rhinos from Gold Coast Titans last autumn.
He was restricted to just two pre-season games after suffering a hamstring injury in his first training session as a Rhinos player and was sidelined again after tearing a biceps on his Betfred Super League debut away to Warrington Wolves two months ago.
Unable to take part in team training, Peteru returned to Australia for part of his recovery and said that has helped him mentally as well as physically.
Now back in Leeds and stepping up his rehab’, he is targeting a playing comeback within the next few weeks.
That will be a boost for Rhinos, who were also without Peteru’s fellow front-rowers Adam Cuthbertson, Mitch Garbutt and Anthony Mullally due to injury when they beat Salford Red Devils 20-0 three days ago.
With Keith Galloway having been released from his contract, Leeds have been short of size in recent weeks, something the return of 6ft 5ins, 17st 9lbs Peteru will help to address.
Outlining his recovery, Peteru said he hopes to be back in contention slightly ahead of the injury’s original 12-week estimate.
“I am feeling good,” he confirmed. “I went back to Aus’ and New Zealand for a while and did my rehab’ there for about a month.
“I’ve come back and I am mentally fresh and ready to go. I am hoping to be back in the next few weeks, hopefully for one of the Hull games [at Hull on April 19 or Hull KR 10 days later].
“I haven’t put a specific date on it, but I am looking at one of those two games.”
He added: “I haven’t done contact in training yet, but I am nearly at full strength.
“I have got to get clearance from the surgeon to come back and once he gives that, it should be in the next couple of weeks and I’ll be good to go.”
Of his time away from Leeds, he said: “I was training by myself, but I had some help from people I know. I was back on the Gold Coast, but I wasn’t working with any clubs.
“When I was in New Zealand and Australia I did a lot of running and walking, because I couldn’t do anything else.
“I have kept myself fit and I have been going hard with the rehab and the physio.
“The physios are really good here.”
Peteru admitted he is itching to get back into action after the disrupted start to his Rhinos career.
“I’ve had a few niggles before, but I haven’t had anything like this,” said the 26-year-old, who made 14 appearances in the NRL for Gold Coast last year. “It has been mentally challenging, but I think when I went back home I mentally recharged.
“I have come back in a good state mentally and that rubs off physically. You can really put the effort in and I think that is showing in my recovery.
“And I am a few weeks ahead of schedule.”