Tim Moltzen

"It might take some time, but I'm going to work my arse off. I'll definitely be back": Shane Moltzen. Photo: Getty Images

Having fractured his skull as a 17-year-old, Tim Moltzen doesn't see his latest break as his greatest injury setback. Some might ponder whether the Wests Tigers playmaker is finished, having added a fractured kneecap to two anterior cruciate ligament injuries, but Moltzen reckons he'll return to the field next season.

''It's bone, it's going to heal strong, if not stronger,'' Moltzen said. ''I was 17 when I fractured my skull and was told I was never going to be playing footy again. I got kneed in the head, had a depressed skull fracture, I was out for a year …. But I got through that. The kneecap's not as bad as the skull, so I'm sure I'll get back from this.

''It might take some time, but I'm going to work my arse off. I'll definitely be back. This is not something that's going to stop me.''

Moltzen suffered his latest injury in a freak training mishap earlier this month. Without a hand on him, he heard a crack, felt a sharp pain and fell to the ground in a heap.

He was rushed to hospital, where x-rays showed his kneecap had been split in half. Following surgery he faces a long and difficult rehabilitation. Yet it was not his most feared diagnosis, having ruptured his ACL on the same, left knee twice before.

''It was all pretty weird,'' Moltzen said. ''They only really see those [injuries] on impact. We were just playing a touch game, and I hadn't even been touched - I just went to take off on that leg, and it collapsed underneath me. My kneecap had broken in two.

''First and foremost, when it happened, I was worried it was [the ACL] again. But in taking a glance down, it looked like something had definitely happened with the kneecap, and the sound was a little bit different … like something had broken. The x-ray showed it was a fairly big break, and pretty much went straight through the middle of the patella. It didn't look good.

''But the main thing I wanted to get checked was that it wasn't the ACL again, and it wasn't any ligaments. I got the best of the bad situation, I think.''

Moltzen saw his surgeon, David Woods --who has operated on his knee on all three occasions - on Monday and the early signs post-surgery were positive.

The 25-year-old, who was ruled out this year after his second ACL injury in round seven, will not rush his return next season but has his eyes on midyear.

''We just need to give the bone some time to heal,'' he said. ''They put some wiring through the kneecap and I'm in straight-legged cast for another four weeks.

''At least there's a timeframe I can set - every other time, it's just been a season-ending thing. I haven't given up on next year.