Matt Gillett has been given all clear on his injured neck and his shoulder and has targeted a return to action in a trial against Wynnum-Manly on January 16.
The 30-year-old Test forward, who has not played a game since the round five clash with Newcastle last year, said he had been waiting for three neck fractures to heal.
He also underwent shoulder surgery last year and has been on a modified training program for most of the pre-season, but said the news on his neck was a "big relief" and related to one of two hairline fractures that had taken longer to heal than was first expected.
"Two or three weeks ago I got the all-clear for the neck and yesterday I went to see the surgeon about the shoulder and he is very happy with that and has given me the all clear to go ahead," he said.
"I had a fracture in the C5 [vertebrae] on the front left-hand side which pretty much went all the way through.
"When you do have a look at the scans it does look pretty scary.
"Then I had two little hairline fractures at the back. The main fracture was healed when I got the scan done mid to late last year, but one of the two hairline fractures was maybe a quarter of the way through the healing process.
"I got the scan on the 6th or 7th [of January] and once the results came through I got the thumbs-up. It was awesome."
Gillett said waiting for the fracture to heal had played on his mind but the good news he received last month had enabled him to focus entirely on getting his shoulder right.
"I’m building into everything now. I’ve been doing a bit of contact lately and in the opposed sessions I am getting bumped into and putting my body in front," he said.
"I’m pretty confident doing the contact. It is just learning a bit more about doing stuff in the wrestle and when you get caught in those awkward positions, which I am building into.
"Once I am out there with the jersey on that mindset all goes away and you just go out there and play footy.
“I am aiming to get 20 minutes against Wynnum. If not I’ll be definitely playing against the Titans [on March 3] and get a good hit-out there before we play Melbourne in round one.”
Gillett said he lost six kilos in the off-season, as he often does when he is not training, but had put it all back on and was now back to his playing weight of 101kg.
He was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the McDonald’s Broncos Burger. Fifty cents of every burger sold goes to Ronald McDonald House, a charity which supports families with seriously ill or injured children.
Funds raised from the sale of the Broncos Burger in 2018 will cover the cost of one floor of accommodation at Ronald McDonald House in South Brisbane and assist 840 families.
“As a Broncos player we get to meet the families and kids and understand what they go through and what Ronald McDonald House does for them,” Gillett said.
“It is special because a lot of us have families ourselves.”