Star NZ Warriors recruit Addin Fonua-Blake should be back on an NRl much sooner than initially expected.
Back in round four, the 25-year-old suffered a knee injury in just his fourth game for his new side against Sydney Roosters, which was later diagnosed as a left tibial fracture and posterior cruciate ligament issue.
The Warriors said Fonua-Blake required surgery and would be sidelined for four months, with coach Nathan Brown warning fans "you are certainly not going to see him anytime soon, that's for sure."
But in a massive boost for the team's fortunes, the Mate Ma'a international has revealed that he has avoided going under the knife and hopes to return to the field within the next month.
"It's going well," Fonua-Blake told Sky's Warriors TV of his recovery. "It's actually a lot better than what we first thought.
"I was told at first that I'd have to go for surgery but we got a second opinion, and the second surgeon said that we should just do rehab and a lot of weights and a lot of treatment.
"So we've gone down that path and obviously we've missed the surgery so recovery time is a lot shorter… hopefully I'll be back within a month."
The club's marquee off season signing, Fonua-Blake had already made a significant impact on the team's muscle upfront, and his early return will provide some welcome relief for a team already ravaged by injury, with first-choice players Euan Aitken, Chanel Harris-Tavita, and Peta Hiku already unavailable.
The Warriors are coming off a heavy defeat to Melbourne Storm last weekend, but still sit inside the top eight after seven rounds of the competition.
Fonau-Blake is confident the Warriors are well placed to make a charge, as their players work their way back to full fitness.
"Bit of a hard loss on the weekend, so I'm just making sure everyone flushes that and remembers that the comp's not won in March and April," he notes.
"We've still got a lot of games so hoping we can get a roll on and get all our players back and make a real charge towards the finals."
The Warriors will try to get back into the winners circle against North Queensland Cowboys in Gosford on Sunday.
Join us from 4pm Sunday, for live updates of NZ Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys