Ryan Papenhuyzen admits there’s still a way to go before he’s back on the big stage but is hopeful a finals run might be the gateway to his awaited return from injury.
Speaking to SEN on Thursday morning, Papenhuyzen shared details of where his rehabilitation journey is at after shattering his patella in Round 18 of the 2022 season.
“I think a couple weeks ago I was at 30% deficiency between my quads, which is the measurement we’re going off and at the moment I’m about 17% so I am lowering that number which is a positive,” the fullback said.
“Now I’m getting back into running so however long that’s going to take to get some [kilometres] in the legs and changing direction they’re all that stuff I still need to do.
“Once I’ve got a good block of training in then I'll probably have to come back through reserve grades.
“I think we’re only nearly halfway through now, so hopefully I can come in through the backend and be fresh for the finals.”
The 24-year-old returned to the training track earlier this year with steady progress made since building his workload in readiness for a first-grade return.
“I was going really well and got to a point where I was starting to do some change of direction, but I pulled up a little bit sore in my quad tendons so we had to strip it right back and do some more testing,” Papenhuyzen explained.
“From that testing we figured out there’s still a pretty big deficiency which meant I’ll be landing a bit stiff legged on my injured leg and that puts a bit of pressure on the tendon.”
After travelling to the US in January to meet with renowned specialist Bill Knowles, the Dundas Shamrocks junior has worked to maintain an open mindset on his expected return date with setbacks as expected learning opportunities.
“That was a bit frustrating, it sort of set me back a little bit, but at the same time I know where I’m at now and I know I’m stronger, so it gives me a bit more confidence to progress with it,” he added.
“Fingers crossed it’s all smooth sailing from here.”