Knee surgery, a late start to pre-season and the possibility of playing no trial games before round one of the NRL. It doesn't sound like the ideal scenario for Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater.
But the World Cup-winning superstar is used to abbreviated pre-season campaigns.
The 30-year-old says even if he doesn't get out on the paddock for a trial game, he'll be ready to take on arch rivals Manly in round one at Brookvale Oval on March 8.
"The knee's going along all right. I've had a couple of runs this week which is pretty much ahead of schedule," Slater said yesterday.
Slater battled a knee injury during the World Cup but was able to give a sensational two-try performance in the winning side in the final against New Zealand last November in Manchester, England.
"I'm still pencilled in for round one," he said.
And he added that a late pre-season start is nothing new.
"Probably in the last six years that has been the case. We've had short pre-seasons and come back in January," he said.
"The season is that long and with the Origin period in the middle of the year, you can get a little bit stale and get flat. It's important that we do have that break and freshen right up."
Cronulla are facing legal action from a third former player after Broderick Wright's lawyers sent the club a letter informing them of his decision to sue for negligence, breach of contract and intentional tort.
Wright is following the lead of Josh Cordoba and Isaac Gordon in taking action against the Sharks for a period during the 2011 NRL season when controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank worked at the club.
"It's been a long and difficult time since details of the supplement programme were revealed," Wright told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I have been troubled by the obvious abuse of trust by Cronulla, but what they put me through by subjecting me to the programme and exposing us to unknown risks was just wrong and I feel I need to make it right.
"I love rugby league and seeing the other guys come forward gave me strength to speak up too."
The decision comes just a week before Dank is required to hand over documents about his supplements programme to lawyers.
Wright left the club at the end of the 2011 season and is now employed as a real estate agent.
He complained of stomach problems during the programme.