Hull City's Jack Hobbs sees light at end of injury tunnel
HULL City defender Jack Hobbs is "ahead of schedule" on his lengthy comeback trail – and could be back in action as early as November.
Hobbs suffered cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during the Tigers' 2-0 defeat to Coventry in March, condemning him to a rehabilitation of up to nine months.
The 24-year-old has made pleasing progress over the summer and is now working towards a return to training over the next six weeks.
City boss Steve Bruce will take no chances on the fitness of Hobbs but he has been delighted to see the £800,000 signing from Leicester making giant strides back towards the first-team picture.
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"Jack's doing great, as we all expected he would," Bruce told the Mail.
"I've only known him for seven or eight weeks but he's a resilient, tough, hard-working pro.
"He'll be giving himself every opportunity to get back as soon as he can.
"I would say he's slightly ahead of schedule, but we won't be rushing anything."
Although Hobbs is yet to train with the City squad since Bruce's appointment in June, the City boss has made a conscious attempt to kept the defender in his plans.
That included Hobbs travelling to Portugal for the club's warm-weather training camp in July where he told the Mail anything less than a nine-month lay-off "would be a bonus."
Hobbs, who had been an ever-present and captain when injury struck in March, could now target a reserve team game in November and, providing there are no complications, be in contention for a Championship return before 2012 is out.
Bruce added: "We'd still expect him to be out until at least the start of November, and it might not be until this time next season that we see Jack being right back to his very best. It's a very difficult injury to get over.
"We're seeing him out on the grass running around with a ball so he's doing very well.
"The one thing that you can't do with a cruciate is to rush them. There's certain methods you've got to stick to because it's not an injury you want to take risks with.
"He's certainly doing everything he can to give himself a great chance so, touch wood, everything continues to go well."
Hobbs is now working to a similar timescale to team-mate Tom Cairney.
The midfielder suffered a knee injury in the League Cup defeat to Doncaster last month and is currently wearing a knee brace around the City training ground.
An absence of at least three months is expected for Cairney, but there are no guarantees the 21-year-old will play again before the turn of the year.