PAT Richards admits he won’t be rushed along the comeback trail – even with the Super League season starting next weekend.
Wigan’s points-scoring machine ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Grand Final last October, which ruled him out for six months.
The Australian has endured a gruelling winter of recuperation and rehab, and has now progressed to bike-work, swimming and skipping. But is still two months away from pulling on the cherry and white shirt again for the first time since Old Trafford.
However, he is determined to continue to take it steady to avoid suffering a setback in his recovery.
“This kind of injury normally takes six months to heal and I’m up to four months now, so not too long to go now,” Richards told the Evening Post.
“The medical staff are pretty happy with how I’m going, and I am too, which is great.
“It’s helped me being the off-season and not having to sit and watch the guys out there without me.
“It’s going to be much worse when the season starts next week, but I have to make sure it’s 100 per cent before I think about coming back.
“I don’t want to come back and then a couple of weeks later have a relapse. When I come back I want to be back for good.”
Richards will be conspicuous by his absence in the opening rounds of the competition, having been an ever-present for the Warriors in 2010.
However, he admits he has had a reasonably good run down the years, and is remaining pragmatic about the situation.
“I’ve been pretty lucky in that I’ve not missed too many games since I’ve been at Wigan,” he added.
“But we all know getting injured is part and parcel of the game, and you just have to get on with it.
“I had a couple of bad injuries back in Australia – I had a knee reconstruction and broke my ankle – but that’s not bad for 10 years in first grade.”
The Ireland international is also refusing to place undue pressure on himself by circling a possible return date on the calendar.
He said: “I don’t want to get caught up with that, looking at the fixture list.
“It’s a very long season and there’s no need for me to rush back before I’m ready.
“Hopefully, the boys can start the season off well and I’ll be able to get my spot back in the team.”