England international Oliver Holmes has spoken of his frustration at suffering an injury that is likely to keep him out of the first two months of the 2019 Super League season.
The Castleford Tigers back rower has undergone an operation on an injured shoulder and does not expect to play until the end of March.
He admits it is disappointing to be on the sidelines after probably the best year of his career saw him play a full part in helping the Tigers to a third place finish and end the season with selection for England and the England Lions.
He told the Express: “It’s a slow process, but we are making some good head way with the shoulder, I’m probably about a week in front of where I should be, which is always a good sign.
“It’s frustrating to miss the start of the season, but I’m hoping to be back for the end of March, beginning of April.
“Obviously we don’t want to rush it back too early as shoulders are a main part of the game and you want to get it right first time so you don’t have any other problems later.”
Holmes has suffered on and off for some time with a shoulder injury and hopes he will be finally free of it when hie current rehab is completed.
He explained: “I’ve sort of had a shoulder niggle for about four years. I’ve been having injections that have settled it down for six or seven months at a time and after the last one I had a bit of an incident in training in June, July time.
“I went for the injection again and it didn’t quite work. I finished the season on anti-inflams and eased the pain that way. When I came back off tour I couldn’t really move my arm so I went for a scan, went to see the surgeon and he said I needed an operation.
“When I went in for the operation there was a bit more needed doing than I originally thought.
“It’s something that had been coming I’d imagine, but I didn’t expect it to be at this time. But it’s part and parcel of the game.”
Holmes has not been able to train with his teammates since the injury was diagnosed, but is stepping up his rehab now and will travel with the first team squad to Lanzarote for their warm weather camp this week.
He said: “I’ve been isolated doing mainly rehab stuff in the gym and then fitness wise I’ve been doing a lot of watt bikes and lower body weights.
“There’s not much upper body stuff I can do at the minute, no contact obviously.
“But I’ve done a couple of running sessions now and hopefully I’ll be joining up with the team, with no contact sessions, in the next couple of weeks.
“Luckily enough I managed to miss the cold weather camp in Cumbria, but I’m okay for the warm weather one.
“I had the operation done on December 3 and they went that weekend so I was taking pain killers and was in a sling and there would be no point in going up there.
“Lanzarote is more of a team bonding week with some fine tuning and sticking everything together. It’s about the lads getting to spend some time with each other, really coming together as a group and setting us up for the rest of the season.”