Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman is “hitting all the marks” in his rehabilitation and recovery from a broken leg, says boss Richard Agar.
Newman scored three tries in 12 games last season in addition to receiving an England call-up, before being injured against Hull KR in September.
It meant the 20-year-old missed a considerable chunk of the season, including the Challenge Cup final.
“The kid’s been truly magnificent in his rehab,” Agar told BBC Radio Leeds.
“You can imagine for a young guy who was at the top of his game – named in the England squad, he was flying – to miss out on a cup final would have been a particularly tough moment for him, not getting the opportunity to play.
“The way he has attacked his rehab day by day, and the gains he’s made in every other area he can, in terms of skill, upper body, diet, sleep, he’s hitting all the marks.
“It’s no surprise his surgeon thinks he’s ahead of schedule for a comeback, which is terrific.”
While there is hope the Huddersfield-born three-quarter, who turns 21 next week, will be involved sooner than expected, Agar has ruled out a return for the season’s opening weekend from 26-28 March.
Other injured players, including Luke Gale, Tom Briscoe and Alex Sutcliffe are being monitored, but the club are taking particular care in managing Newman’s recovery.
“Harry’s been running on an anti-gravity treadmill machine,” Agar added. “I’m not a physio, but I understand the size and magnitude of the injury he had.
“He’s still got a bit of a pronounced limp in there but the feedback I’ve had from our high performance guys is that’s not unusual and once he starts going and gets going you’ll see the change in him quickly.”