All Blacks fans can breathe a sigh of relief as star lock Brodie Retallick returned to the gym as he recovers from nerve damage in his left shoulder.

A week ago Retallick admitted he was fearful he wouldn't recover in time for the Rugby World Cup in Japan this month, but fast forward one week and the 28-year-old has hinted at an early comeback.

"I'm trucking along not too bad. The shoulder is probably a lot better than it was a week ago so that's a good sign," he told All Blacks TV.

"Rehab-wise I'm just trying to get the range of motion back into my shoulder. It's gotten pretty tight from not doing much.

Advertisement

"Ideally, when I get all the range back we start strengthening."

Retallick is back using weights and hopes the recovery will see him back in time for some of the pool matches, a few weeks ahead of schedule.

Brodie Retallick could make an early return to the All Blacks. Photo / Getty
Brodie Retallick could make an early return to the All Blacks. Photo / Getty

"I've made a fair amount of progress over the last four or five days and if it keeps progressing then hopefully come four or five weeks' time I should be able to play again," he told the Herald.

"The one real thing that's holding it up is that I did a bit of nerve damage when the shoulder dislocated. A couple of fingers were numb and a deltoid [shoulder muscle] wasn't working that well.

"The shoulder itself is getting stronger but being without that function was a concern. I'm starting to get that feeling back now so hopefully it keeps progressing.

"I'm pretty confident I could do some skill work with the ball – catch and pass – but obviously we're a wee way out."

The All Blacks kick off their World Cup campaign against South Africa on Saturday September 21.