CRAIG Briscoe has given Oldham RL Club’s medical staff 1,000 reasons for believing he could be playing again by the end of July or the beginning of August.
Exactly 111 days since undergoing a full anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in his right knee, the former Leigh and Barrow forward ran for the first time this week and did more than half a mile on grass.
“It was 1,000 metres to be precise, and that’s a terrific start,” said the club’s rehabilitation expert Oliver Waite, who has had Briscoe under his wing for the past few months.
One of several additions to the Roughyeds’ medical and conditioning team this season, Waite works part time for Oldham and full time for Huddersfield Giants as first-team physio and rehabilitation lead. He was previously with Nottingham Forest football club.
As part of his job at Oldham, he has been working with 24-year-old Briscoe since the tough-tackling forward had his operation in Wigan on January 25.
Waite and his Roughyeds colleagues are delighted with Briscoe’s progress and were not at all surprised by how well he did when he broke into a run for the first time since he went down in a tackle at Bower Fold — and didn’t get up — nearly ten months ago.
Added Waite: “Craig is a great lad to work with. He is continuing to work exceptionally hard and he deserves all the good luck he can possibly have over the remainder of his rehab and beyond.
“We’re looking at another ten weeks of rehab, but the way things are going I’m expecting him to be ready for a return to competitive action at the end of July or early August.
“A ll the signs indicate that he is on course for an accelerated return not much more than six months after his surgery, and that would be an extremely satisfying outcome and no more than he deserves for the professional way he has dealt with his injury and then his rehab.
“By the time we think he’ll be back, providing everything continues to go smoothly, it will have been 26 weeks since his operation.”
Said coach Scott Naylor: “Craig’s battle to regain full fitness is ahead of schedule, but we’re not rushing him. He is under no pressure whatsoever.
“The main thing is that he and we do what’s best for Craig.”
Due to heavy demand for Summer Bash tickets, the Rugby League (RFL) is advising fans to buy from their local club as soon as possible. The League say it is unlikely tickets will be available on the day.
Roughyeds have a limited number for South Stand and West Stand at Blackpool where Naylor’s men play Rochdale Hornets on Saturday, May 27, kick-off 2.30. There are three other games on the same day, all covered by the one ticket price.
Tickets will be on sale this Sunday at the Manchester Regional Athletics Centre, where Oldham play Batley Bulldogs (3pm). Alternatively, fans can order in advance on 07904 898177 and collect their tickets on Sunday at the temporary Roughyeds shop that will be set up in the Manchester venue’s West Stand.
Home and away replica jerseys will also be on sale, while fans can order the one-off Summer Bash shirt, sponsored by TLH Auctioneers of Chadderton.
In a curtain-raiser on Sunday before the Batley game, four primary schools from the Hathershaw Sports Cluster — St Hilda’s, St Martin’s, Alt and Lyndhurst — will play in a tag festival, starting at about 1.45pm.
The festival is the culmination of regular in-school coaching sessions supervised by former Super League referee Ian Smith on the Roughyeds’ behalf.
Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton will be a studio guest on next Thursday’s Radio Manchester Rugby League show (May 25) which will present a Summer Bash special.