Warriors captain Tohu Harris is cautiously optimistic he can return to action midway through May as the club eyes a return to New Zealand next season.
Harris' 2021 campaign ended when he suffered an ACL injury in the loss to Penrith in July.
Having successfully undergone surgery the Kiwi international said he hoped to resume contact training in the new year.
"It's been on track so far. I've been able to get some running in on the field and it feels good to stretch the legs," he said.
"I've got to be patient, I'm not too sure of the timeline because I'll try and push things.
"I think the only one that we are going off is the nine-month mark. That's the guideline of when you return from an ACL injury.
"There are cases where you can come back earlier. The nine-month mark for me is about mid-May so somewhere around round 8 in the season."
When he is fit, Harris said his preference was to play in the middle, having rotated between prop, lock and back-row during last year's campaign which saw the club miss out on finals for a third straight season.
But more pressing was the Warriors' expected return to New Zealand.
The club hasn't played at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland since 2019 and have scheduled a round 15 return against the Panthers for their highly-anticipated homecoming.
That could be hastened with news this week that the country's border rules are loosening which caused a buzz in the club's Redcliffe camp.
"All the players and staff are excited about being at Mt Smart again," he said.
"I can't even remember the last time we played there. It's been a long time coming.
"It'll be great to have a game in front of our fans, I'm just looking forward to the fans and the roar as we run out. I think it's going to be huge."
With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck having left the club and Harris sidelined, the backrower said the club was well stocked when it came to selecting a stand-in skipper.
"That's up to the head coach (Nathan Brown) and (chief executive) Cameron George, that's something they've got to think about," Harris added.
"We've got a lot of experienced guys who've done roles in different teams. Whoever gets that tap on the shoulder, will be excited to lead the team out for whatever rounds they get asked to do it."
Australian Associated Press