Newcastle Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen remains hopeful of making an early return from his hamstring injury.
Mullen, who tore his left hamstring at the recent Auckland Nines tournament, is expected to be sidelined for to 12-16 weeks.
But after completing a light run on Friday morning, the Club's key playmaker is looking to return to the field ahead of time.
"It’s good news with no surgery, so that obviously cuts a few weeks off," Mullen said at the Knights' official season launch on Friday.
"The surgeon and everyone here is trying to get me to the 12 weeks.
"But I’m sort of looking at the six to eight week mark, but we’ll have to wait and see.
"Eight weeks in probably the minimum, but as I’m feeling now I feel like I’m a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.
"I went for a bit of a jog today, obviously not striding out because it’s still detached down there and I’ve got to give it a bit of time to reattach itself and let the scars heal."
Mullen admits he is extremely disappointed to miss the start of the 2014 season, but he is remaining positive ahead of the long rehabilitation process.
"It’s frustrating, obviously doing a whole pre-season of work and then also playing in the Nines which was such a great concept," he says.
"And to miss the start of the season is disappointing as well, but injuries are a part of the game and it’s the way you come back from them."
As much as the Club will miss Mullen's ability on the field, the man himself has no doubts the team can survive in his absence.
He even endorsed new recruit Michael Dobson as a player more than capable of stepping up.
"It’s definitely not a one-man team," he insists.
"We’ve got a lot of good players in different positions there
"I’m not sure who is going to play five-eighth, but there is someone like Dobson who is a left foot kicker.
"He has also played some big games overseas, so I’m sure he’ll do a good job.
"He has got all the skills and he has a great little kicking game on him and that’s what you need to put pressure on other teams.
"If he plays there, he’ll do a good job for us.”