Sidelined Taranaki wing Jackson Ormond hopes to be back in action before the end of the month.
Ormond has been out of all rugby since he had keyhole surgery to repair ligament damage in his shoulder in February.
The injury not only ruled him out of club rugby, it also prevented him from working with the Hurricanes' wider training group having been selected after some stellar work in Taranaki's 2011 ITM Cup campaign.
"I'm probably about 90 per cent at the moment," he said yesterday.
"I'll probably give it another week or two and look at the King Country game. I should be back then."
Tenderlink Taranaki open their representative and Ranfurly Shield season against King Country at Inglewood's TET Stadium on Friday, July 27.
Ormond looks an obvious choice to fill one wing position, providing he comes up to speed after such a long layoff.
With Taranaki coach Colin Cooper unable to select Super Rugby players Kurt Baker and Andre Taylor for the matches against King Country and Wanganui eight days later, the other players in the frame to start look to be Frazier Climo and Waisake Naholo.
Ormond said he had been able to do some "light" contact work in recent weeks.
His surgeon had given him a six-month timeframe to be back in action, so he was thankful his recovery had gone to plan.
"I was expecting to be back a bit sooner," he said. "It has been a really frustrating time and it was a bit of a bummer I couldn't help out Southern, but I didn't want to rush back into it before it was right and injure it again."
Despite only being able to do minimal contact work, Ormond said his general fitness was sound.
"I haven't been able to do as much as I would have liked but I'm almost back to normal."
He had been back working fulltime for Linepower for more than three months.
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