Manly young gun on track to return from double ACL
It's the scientific test conducted that will determine if Manly young gun Albert Hopoate is on track to return from a second ACL ahead of schedule.
Hopoate's promising career has been put on hold following consecutive knee reconstructions.
This time last year he was set to potentially make his NRL debut on the wing for the Sea Eagles before heartbreak hit.
Hopoate was left devastated when he re-injured his ACL just 12 minutes into only his second SG Ball match last season.
Watch the 2020 NRL Nines tournament LIVE & On-Demand on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
It has been a long road following 10 months of intense rehabilitation and recovery, but he is finally on the right path. He is running strongly and isn't restricted while he is working overtime in the gym to rebuild lost muscle and conditioning.
But before Hopoate can play again, he has to complete a test to determine his comeback timeline.
Called "Pitch Ready", the testing system provides athletes with definitive individualised and progressive information that they can use to help maximise potential for injury prevention and a successful return.
The test was created and is conducted by former St George Illawarra physiotherapist Tim McGrath, who holds a PHD in Rehabilitation of the ACL and return to sport and is the clinical director of Elite Physiotherapy in Canberra.
Hopoate will have markers connected to his body, which allow the system to test his change of direction and movement mechanics.
This will then determine a prognosis and a comeback plan moving forward.
If the test is positive for Hopoate, he will be cleared to return to training with the team.
A conservative comeback would be round 14 but if his knee responds well to contact he could be back as early as round 3 or 4.
Hopoate's father, Manly legend John Hopoate, couldn't be happier to see his son push through the adversity of consecutive ACL injuries.
"I'm very proud of Albert because he was devastated doing it a second time," Hopoate said.
"He has worked very hard to get to where he is now and by all reports he's going really well.
"It would be great for him to play first grade but not worried about that at the moment just want him to play a full season of footy and touchwood he doesn't get injured again."
Manly have also gone to great lengths behind the scenes to prevent Hopoate from suffering a third successive ACL injury.
This includes scans to measure his length discrepancy, wearing specific shoes and an injection in his pelvis by a sports physician to lock up and stabilise his pelvis.
The Sea Eagles want to tick every box to ensure that Hopoate avoids a third consecutive ACL injury, which is a 30 per cent chance of happening again.