SIDELINED defender Jackson Thurlow expects his AFL career to resume in round one next season after having a knee reconstruction in April.
The running defender said the surgeon was confident he would have no long-term issues, and despite a minor hiccup when he hurt the hamstring where the graft was taken last week, his rehabilitation was progressing well.
Thurlow told K-Rock he was missing playing football but had remained positive despite the disappointment.
"The physios are really happy, the footy club's happy, I'm probably a couple of weeks ahead of where I should be, and everything's moving in the right direction," Thurlow said.
"It's been good so far. Fingers crossed it stays that way."
He said the Cats had provided him with great support, and Daniel Menzel and Nathan Vardy, teammates who had also undergone knee reconstructions, had been a good source of encouragement and advice.
"It obviously gets to you at times, [but] the people we have got around this football club at the moment are unbelievable," Thurlow said.
Thurlow said Menzel calls him his first client and has provided him with "a list of things I am going to go through".
From Launceston, Thurlow has played 29 games for the Cats, and cemented his position in defence with an outstanding 2015.
He looks a natural successor to Corey Enright whenever the Cats' champion calls time.
"I guess with the timing … if there's a good thing to come out of it, it means I don’t miss any AFL games next year and NAB Cup (Challenge) games as well," he said.
"Hopefully I can do a full pre-season and be fit and firing by NAB one and round one next year."