Corey Harawira-Naera's taken a step in the right direction, but he's not "out of the shit" just yet.
The versatile Canberra Raiders forward is mindful of not getting his hopes up too soon, but he's tracking in the right direction towards a return to training.
His troponin levels, a heart enzyme marker, have returned to normal, but he's having a loop recorder inserted below his skin to check on any "funky" heart rhythms before getting cleared.
Harawira-Naera's had a frustrating time since his frightening seizure on the field during the Raiders' win over South Sydney at Homebush in May.
Almost six months later and he's still waiting to be cleared - although he's come to terms with the wait to make sure neither he nor his family ever have to go through it happening again.
The positive news comes as the Raiders moved to get salary cap dispensation for him just in case.
Fingers crossed they won't need it, but the Raiders have begun the application process after the NRL were receptive to getting salary cap relief for Harawira-Naera's ongoing battle to return to the field.
The 28-year-old still can't join the majority of Canberra's squad when they begin pre-season training on Monday.
But, after some tough times mentally earlier this year as he remained in medical limbo, Harawira-Naera has made peace with the lengthy process.
"I don't want to get my hopes up too early ... but everything's tracking in the right direction, which is positive," he told The Canberra Times.
"It's in the safe zone now [the troponin levels]. It's not out of the shit, but it's in the safe zone where [the cardiologist is] happy for me to tick that box, which is good.
"I don't want to get my hopes up, but I'm still optimistic as well.
"We've got one more big hurdle to cross and then once that's cleared I'm guessing from the chat I've had with her she should be pretty happy with me to start some kind of training.
"I've known in myself I'll be fine, but I've got to make sure - not just for me, but for everyone else, especially my family and little one, they don't see anything like that again."
MORE RAIDERS NEWS
As a back-up, the Raiders have spoken to the NRL about the possibility of getting salary cap relief - similar to St George Illawarra getting dispensation for Cody Ramsey.
Ramsey hasn't played since 2022 due to ulcerative colitis illness, but it's believed they weren't able to find a suitable replacement so didn't end up using it.
The Raiders were still hopeful it wouldn't be needed, but if his frustrating saga continued indefinitely then the Raiders want to have everything in place so they can bring in a replacement.
"Yes we will be submitting one and when we discussed it with [the NRL] they seemed to think it was a fair and reasonable request and we'll see what comes of it and what it may or may not allow us to do," Raiders chief executive Don Furner said.
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