Jarrod Croker jokes he has finally found the silver lining in his reconstructed shoulder.
"I don't wake up nervous this morning like the rest of the boys," the Canberra Raiders co-captain said.
Because Croker sat back and watched as the Raiders' senior group returned for day one of their pre-season training block on Monday, joining the club's first to fourth year players on the road to next year's NRL kick off.
First on the agenda were a range of strength tests at Raiders headquarters before the players were taken to Stromlo Forest Park for time trials often home to a pre-season spew or two.
Among the returning group was co-captain Josh Hodgson, who is targeting a round one return following surgery on his second anterior cruciate ligament tear.
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"The last time they took a piece of my hamstring, this time it was a low graft. It has probably gone a bit smoother this time," Hodgson said.
"Last time I kind of had a grade three hammy to deal with as well as the knee. That was a bit strenuous because it was more my hammy that was giving me problems last time, whereas this time it has been pretty smooth.
"My left knee was about six and a half months, round one will be about seven and a half, eight months. Round one is probably my target date, but anything can happen.
"It's one of those things, with that kind of injury you can't really rush it. I'll see the surgeon at the end of January and get the okay to go into contact.
"Once we get that, we'll have a bit more of an idea of when I can actually play. You need a few weeks of contact into you before you decide to go out there and play. You'll just have to see."
Hodgson's injury kept him sidelined for the Raiders' run to the preliminary final, during which Tom Starling defied his small stature to become a giant piece of the Green Machine.
Starling became a fan favourite during what Hodgson labels a fantastic stint in the top grade, shutting down any fear his 170 centimetre, 82 kilogram frame would be a weak link in the middle of the defensive line.
However Starling will face court next month after being charged with five counts of assaulting an officer in the execution of duty following a brawl on the Central Coast a fortnight ago.
Should he be cleared for the Raiders' season opener against the Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium on March 14, he may line up alongside Hodgson.
The Englishman has started changing direction while running and, "touch wood", there have been no hiccups.
But Croker is still building up to an intense training schedule as he nurses his reconstructed shoulder with an eye on a round one return.
"I tore my labrum and subluxed the rotator cuff, there was a little fracture in there, and he actually reattached my bicep tendon when he got in there," Croker said.
"I didn't go for a scan until four or five days after that game. I didn't expect to have a shoulder reconstruction, so that was a bit worrying.
"It was more frustrating, I was in a sling for six weeks and had to sleep in it. Obviously having a newborn as well, it was pretty tough for the missus.
"I came in for a couple of days over the past two weeks, I just wanted to get moving again. [Now] it's pretty much rehab, leg weights, single arm weights, and a bit more physio. I've had a couple of light runs on the gravity machine at half body weight.
"Over Christmas it'll be leg weights, just trying to keep my legs strong and hopefully start to do a bit of running coming into January."