Barba visits Bulldogs team-mates at training

Last updated 16:28 13/03/2013
Ben Barba
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BABY STEPS: Troubled NRL superstar Ben Barba will not make his comeback against Melbourne on Thursday.

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Ben Barba returned to Belmore on Wednesday to visit his Canterbury NRL teammates after being discharged from a private treatment facility where he has spent the past two weeks.

Barba was suspended indefinitely by the Bulldogs last month to deal with issues affecting him off the field.

"It was great to be back at Belmore today," Barba said in a statement released by the club.

"The time away from footy has been helpful but I have missed it.

"It'll be great to be around my team-mates again, I have missed their company over the past few weeks and can't wait to get back out on to the training field."

Barba's return to training will lead to speculation the superstar fullback is close to getting back to NRL action.

Bulldogs' chief executive Todd Greenberg cautioned against him being back too soon, but hinted it may not be too far away.

"People must be aware that this is the first stage of a much bigger program for Ben," Greenberg said.

"The independent experts and specialists have provided us with their initial report and a big part of their recommendation is for Ben to return to the structure of his day-to-day life and that obviously includes his commitment to football.

"It is still too early to determine when Ben may return to the playing field but he will now commit to a dedicated training regime along with a structured outpatient program.

"I have advised the NRL of Ben's progress and our ongoing plans and they are comfortable with our position and the strategies we have in place."

Coach Des Hasler said he hoped to have Barba back in his side shortly.

"He will return to training over the weekend and pending the views and analysis of the Bulldogs coaching and medical staff along with the advice of the independent specialists, he may be available for selection in the coming weeks."

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