Massimo Murdocca took a big step forward in his rehabilitation yesterday with the removal of a screw from his broken leg.
The minor operation will soon allow him to start walking unaided for the first time since he suffered the horrific injury in late June.
The surgical procedure will come as a huge relief for the Brisbane Roar midfielder as it not only allows him to begin applying weight to the injured leg, but will also see the removal of the awkward protective boot which has weighed him down for nearly two months.
Although there still remains plenty of work ahead in his rehabilitation, Murdocca said he was starting to feel positive about his recovery.
"There's still a lot of stuff to look at and think about, but if everything's ok, walking will be the next step," the midfield dynamo said.
"It's like growing up again from a baby to a child. You've got to start walking, then jogging. It's going to be frustrating but I'll get there.
"Just little things now, being able to ride a bike at least will be so relieving. Going from running every day to sitting down every day hasn't been easy so it'll be good to start doing something soon."
Director of Athletic Performance Tony Ganter said it was difficult to determine when fans would be able to see the Roar favourite back in action, but has set a best-case-scenario target of November.
"If everything went really well for him we might expect him to be able to participate sometime in November," Ganter said. "If he has any issues then we may not see him on the pitch until 2010.
"One thing we can rely on is that he works very hard and applies the same principles his preparation as he applies on the pitch.
"So out of all the people in the squad to get a catastrophic injury, it may be a blessing that it's gone to one of the hardest-working players who's got a good chance of doing enough work to get back from it."
Ganter also had positive news for Andrew Packer, with the versatile defender expected to be back in action as early as round eight.
Packer will begin running next week and said he was feeling positive despite suffering the groin injury only seven minutes into the first round of the season.
"At the moment it's going really well," the 29-year-old said. "It's a longer season this year so I'll still have a lot of the season to look forward to."
Fellow defender Josh McCloughan has been ruled out of this weekend's match against Wellington Phoenix with a groin injury, but is expected to be back within a couple of weeks.
Danny Tiatto and Charlie Miller are both fit to take part in the match at Suncorp Stadium, but Ganter said they would be unlikely to last 90 minutes.
While Tiatto's long-term back condition made it difficult to determine how long he would last against Wellington, Ganter said Miller needed to catch up to his team mates' fitness after an off-season hampered by injuries.
The Scottish number 10 struggled to overcome osteitis pubis at the start of pre-season training, before suffering a groin strain last month.
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