Newcastle’s star utility required detailed surgery to a torn cartilage injury he picked up during the recent Rugby League World Cup tournament.
While having 2 months to recover, Gidley was ordered to remain on light training only but coach Smith suggested this morning that Gidley should get at least 1 stint in the upcoming Knights trial games, and maybe even an additional 40 minute stint in another of their hit outs.
“While we’re taking a softly, softly approach with Kurt, he should play in at least 1 and a half of our trial games” confirmed Smith.
At this point, Kurts only been doing light running and building back to full fitness in the gym.
“At this stage of his career, he doesn’t need to develop himself like a lot of younger players do.
“He needs to maintain himself, and we don’t want him to do anything at all that might make him sore and set him back.”
Some consider him to be possibly the fittest player in the NRL, Gidley has been himself frustrated with the restrictions and has put in the hard yards in the gymnasium and pool.
“It’s worse being in rehab than training with the team,” he said.
“It’s frustrating enough just watching the boys train and not being able to run around.
“But because of that I have to keep up the cardio side of things, which means using the bike and glider and swimming – all the not-so-exciting stuff.
“It’s longer days, I’m afraid.
“You’ve got to make sure you watch the rest of the team, to take in whatever they’re doing â€¦ new plays or wrestling techniques and that sort of thing.
“So I have to take in what the rest of the boys are doing, then sort out my own fitness work and then also get my physio done.
“But that’s all part of coming back from an injury, I suppose.”
Gidley said he would take every precaution to ensure the injury did not inhibit his career.
“The bit of cartilage that I did tear off was down to the bone,” he said.
“That’s why I wasn’t allowed to play for the rest of the World Cup, because it can be a career-threatening injury if you keep playing on it.
“I don’t want it to get to the stage where my knee is bone on bone.
“Someone like [former Dragons lock] Shaun Timmins had so much cartilage torn and taken out that he basically had none left, and that’s pretty much what finished his career, at a pretty young age. That’s exactly what I want to avoid.”
The Knights first trial was February 14, with Gidley aiming to be at least available for selection – if not, possibly one of the following pre-season games.
It’s a new era for Gidley, in that he will Newcastle’s captain permanently (barring injur), a role that temporarily came his way when departed hooker Danny Buderus was injured towards the end of last season. That fixture is now set in stone, and barring injury Gidley will lead the Knights forward throughout 09.
“I’m certainly excited,” he said. “Considering the guys who have led the club before, it’s a real honour.”