Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield has revealed he underwent knee surgery last week, but insists he will be fit and raring to go around the turn of the new year.
The 33-year-old told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I did it [the injury] in the season. We thought the rest throughout the off-season would fix it up, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
“Just before we came in it was scanned, I saw the specialist and had the operation. It sounds a lot worse than it is. I won’t be able to run for a number of weeks, but I am confident – and so are the medical and conditioning staff – that I’ll be fine come Christmas/January time.
“I have got a longer pre-season than I’ve had in the past and it might actually be a blessing in disguise. It will allow me to work on some specific areas that I’ve not been able to do before.
“In many ways it can be seen as a minor setback, but I think I will probably get a huge positive out of it as well. I feel in better shape now – having done four weeks’ training and been sent a programme – than I did going into the start of the season.
“There’s seven weeks in front of me when I can do a lot of quality weights and a lot of alternative cardiovascular work.
“Come Christmas or early January I suspect I will be flying. I won’t have done a lot of running at that stage, but I’ll be able to catch up pretty quickly.
“The rest of it, certainly skills and weights-wise, I will be in a great place. I am in a great place mentally as well. It is great to be back in, feeling refreshed and smiling and laughing and enjoying the training.
“Before [playing international games in the off-season], it has always been a cramming mission. To have the luxury this time of having three months – or four months in effect – that is the longest I have ever had to prepare for a season.
“Even when I was a kid in my teens, preparing to play amateur, I never had this long. I will make the most of it and get the best out of it and come the start in February I will be flying and absolutely bouncing.”