The road to recovery has been long and sometimes lonely for Dylan Phythian, but things are looking up for the young utility as his rehabilitation reaches its latter stages.
Just this week he got back out onto the field and started running for the first time since he ruptured his ACL back in March.
“The early talk was that I'd be back in Round 6 to 8, but the coaches are confident I'm a bit further ahead of where I’m meant to be,” Phythian told Knights TV.
“I'm hoping for Round 1 now but maybe Round 5 or 6… I’m not really worried as long as I get back in a strong state and it doesn’t happen again.”
It's been a challenging and lengthy process to get back running, but Phythian is slowly getting there.
“It's coming up on nine months now since I did the injury, and four months post-op. So it’s been a long nine months waiting but I'm finally back out on the field learning to run again," he said.
“It feels a bit weird even being out there with all the boys, getting back into the swing of things.
“It's getting easier... the first run was a bit nerve-racking, but once you get that confidence part out of the way, it's all pretty easy.”
The utility maintains his road back to full fitness hasn’t always been easy.
“It's hard being by yourself,” Phythian explained.
“I have had Hokko (Trent Hodkinson) there as well so it has been a bit easier, but not being out there every day with the boys and being in the gym by yourself takes a bit of a toll.
“It's more of a head game but the hard part is done now.
“I've been in the gym trying to build a lot of muscle back up in my knee to make it stable and I’ve got that now, so I'm doing some straight line running and slowly progressing into change of direction."
Able to play a number of positions, Phythian said he hasn't got any particular role in mind when he does get back on the field.
“I will be training a bit of fullback and in the halves, also centre has been thrown up there as well... but I'm happy to play wherever,” said Phythian.
“Wherever I play, I just want an injury-free year and to be able to pull together a few consistent games, that would be good.
“The centre position is there for the taking so depending on how I come back from the injury, movement wise, and how I go with the ball, will determine that."