Exciting young forward Nathan Kreuger is well on the road to recovery after a speedbump in the form of a knee injury curtailed his pre-Christmas training period.
An innocuous incident in a training drill saw the second-year Cat undergo surgery and see out a brief period on the sidelines.
“The injury happened about four and a half weeks ago just before the Christmas break. It was just like I got a corkie in the knee,” Kreuger says.
“I believe it was in a few contests with big Sav so it’s always fun with him.
“I didn’t feel anything initially, it was after training I thought my knee was a little bit sore. I just went to the physios and talked about it and it turned out I had a lateral meniscus tear.”
While Kreuger was initially caught off-guard by the setback, he has quickly shifted his mindset to approach the rehabilitation as an opportunity to get better.
“I was a bit shocked at first, I was a bit emotional when I was speaking to dad about it. Other than that I got over it pretty quickly and saw the brighter side of it,” Kreuger says.
“I’ve found a few little areas to work on in the gym now. I’m building a lot of other places now, not just my knee, so hopefully it all turns out to be pretty good come the season.
“It’s been a small impact but it hasn’t really taken away anything from what I want to get out of the season.”
Cats physiotherapist Hamish Macauley says Kreuger has had a smooth rehab thus far.
“We consulted a surgeon who had a look at the films, obviously our sports doctor had a look at the films as well as the radiologist, we got an opinion on that and the nature of the tear and we had to go in and clean that up,” Macauley says.
“He had that done just before Christmas. Kreugs went home over Christmas and looked after it really well and then came back early January. Since then he’s come back and been getting into the gym and ticking off his conditioning and he’s progressing really well.
“He’s pretty much back to full strength in the gym so he’s now progressing through some introductory impact which is on our sprung floor and floor tramp and doing some stairs and whatnot.
“He’s been in the heat room, the conditioning boys have been smashing him. He’s been doing all his uppers, catching up with coaches and working on hands so it is a little bit of an opportunity for him to catch up with coaches and work on other parts of his game.
“He’ll start some overground running and we’ll build his volume, speed, acceleration and change of direction to the side and then we’ll start dropping him into some part training and then into full training.”
Kreuger now has his attention firmly focused on the season ahead, where he hopes to replicate his midseason VFL form of last year, where he kicked 13 majors in a period of five weeks whilst swinging between attack and defence.
“My preference is (to play) forward, I’m part of the wolf pack now so hopefully I can stay a part of the wolf pack, but I don’t mind going to the backline and helping out as much as I can. As long as we get through as a team I’m pretty happy,” Kreuger says.