Super Rugby
Reds captain James Slipper eyes early return from shoulder reconstruction
Brittany Mitchell
January 7, 2016
James Slipper salutes the crowd after Australia's victory over Wales
James Slipper salutes the crowd after Australia's victory over Wales© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

James Slipper says he could be only a few months away from making a return for the Reds after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in November.

Slipper went under the knife following the Rugby World Cup, opting to have a full reconstruction to fix his problem shoulder. He was originally expected to miss much of the Super Rugby season, but the Wallabies prop is confident of an early return.

"It was a bad one, I've had it reconstructed," Slipper said.

"But I'm working hard on it at the moment and I'm hoping to be back sometime in the first half of the season. There's a fair bit of hard work in front of me, but I'm looking forward to it.

"That option was there [that I'd miss the whole season], but that was something I obviously didn't want to happen, so to get the better outcome has been good.

"I've been carrying this injury around for a couple of years now, so it's probably about time now that I got it fixed up.

"To be honest I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead; I'm training hard and the goal is obviously to come back stronger, healthier and fitter. I have a lot of hard work in front of me, but I'm looking forward to it."

While the early prognosis looks good, the Reds captain was reluctant to nominate an exact date, or when he'd return to contact training.

"Not necessarily [a time frame]. Just for me, I need to keep ticking the boxes and making sure I come back at 100%.

"Obviously I'm pushing to get back as early as I can, but I've got to be sensible, make sure I do the right thing for the team and for me, just make sure I'm 100% and all confident in it.

"Probably [look at contact training] at the back end of the recovery time, looking at the fourth/fifth month; so it's already been a couple of months.

"I've still got a fair bit of work before I start contact; I've got to build up all the muscle around the shoulder. But I can't wait to get back into the contact."

After a poor 2015 season, which saw the side slump to 13th and cop plenty of fan backlash following the re-signing of coach Richard Graham, Slipper said one of the main goals of 2016 is to bring spectators back to Suncorp Stadium.

"One of our main goals at the Reds is to make all Queenslanders proud," he said.

"If you're a rugby fan or not... where we reached our fans last year wasn't good enough - our results weren't good enough. I think that's something that we can drive ourselves and push throughout the season that will make all Queenslanders proud.

"I think it's important, we need to touchback to our fan base, and we need to prove a point. But in saying that we have to be comfortable and confident in our own game and I think the hard work we're putting in everyday will do that for us.

"The thing that we have to do at the moment is just work hard and make sure we go into the season full of confidence. All the young boys are really excited and ready to bring in all of their enthusiasm.

"We're not putting any marks on the season as yet, but we're just excited to start."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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