Nathan Cleary is slightly ahead in his rehabilitation as he edges closer to a comeback for Penrith but True Blue and Panthers board member Greg Alexander says the club won’t be taking any chances with the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues halfback.
Cleary played through the pain barrier for Game Two of the Ampol State of Origin series on June 27 with a damaged right shoulder and has been sidelined ever since.
Alexander told Behind Blue Eyes for nswrl.com.au Cleary was ticking boxes quicker than expected but he was still unable to take his place against the Sydney Roosters last round despite being named on an extended bench.
The Panthers named their squad today to face St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night with Cleary named in the No.21 jumper again.
“The shoulder is coming along well,” Alexander said.
“I did speak to Nathan last week and he got through a couple of sessions ahead of schedule.
“So, it would be great if he’s fit but they won’t take any risk with.
“(The shoulder) won’t be 100 per cent – absolutely not – so Nathan is going to somehow get through the season.
“There has been plenty of players who have done it in the past… carried pretty serious shoulder injuries through a season, although it’s awkward and makes training hard.
“(Coach) Ivan (Cleary) and the medical staff just want to time it right so that the shoulder is as strong as it can possibly be.
“Nathan is the key to Penrith’s success this season, so we desperately need him to get back on the field.”