Long-term injuries aren’t something which Jason Hoffman has had to contend with throughout much of his career.
His last extended lay-off came back in September 2008, when as a 19-year-old he suffered an ACL tear which kept him out of action for the remainder of his third season in the Hyundai A-League.
In the middle of a packed schedule and off the back of some good form for the Club in mid-February, Hoffman received similar news for the first time in more than ten years.
A rare injury, a dislocated tendon in the ankle, sidelined the attacker in February and means that the next time he’s likely to play competitive football is the early stages of the FFA Cup in July-August.
ERNIE: The boss learns his fate
However, Hoffy is back around the group and in the midst of rehabilitation under the watchful eye of the Club’s medical staff following surgery in February.
“I had the operation in North Sydney, the orthopaedic surgeons down there are well-regarded and well-known,” Hoffman said.
“The operation went extremely well according to the surgeon and I’m now four weeks post-op, and feeling great. I feel ready to go, but it’ll be a couple of weeks before I really hit the ground running.”
With his compulsory R&R out of the way following the op, Hoffman has recently returned to Ray Watt Oval to work on keeping as fit as possible while injured.
Given the moonboot is set to stay on for another two weeks, it will be some time before the attacker is able to hit the park and participate in full training with the rest of the squad again.
Despite that, there’s still plenty for him to be doing and it’s that something different which is helping to keep Hoffman in a good state of mind despite his injury.
“Physically and mentally, I’m in a good space…things take time, but once I get out of the boot and can weight-bear and get running and things like that, I should progress really quickly which will be great for me,” he said.
“I’m in very good hands with Nathan [Renwick, head physiotherapist], Chris [Smith, strength and conditioning coach] and Owen [James, physiotherapist] who are looking after me well and pushing me to the limit, which is great.
“It’s an opportunity for me to work on some upper-body strength and put a bit of size on these gangly bones. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to come back a stronger, more well-rounded footballer and hopefully contribute come day one of pre-season next year.”
A lot of that work on the upper body will be with the intention of bulking up the attacker’s lanky frame which has seen him pull on the boxing gloves in recent weeks.
Although Hoffy has demonstrated he possesses a clean and quick set of hands in recent days, he says a transition into the ring is far from his mind.
“No, I’m not going to be like Paul Gallen and start calling people out for any celebrity boxing matches, I’ll get my teeth kicked in,” Hoffman laughed.
“It’s enjoyable, doing different conditioning stuff and boxing has certainly been a part of that and Owen has been holding the bags well and I’ve been throwing some furry ones at him.”