33-36 WEEKS POST OP
This is when you should be starting to feel really fit and have good endurance in the legs. It is also a great little block to do a mini pre-season if the body is feeling good. You are potentially 2 months away from playing and so it is important to get that extra fitness into the legs now that you have a really good strength block and some really good technical work behind you. You should look to move into more drills at training and start to integrate into full ground uncontrolled drills. We use a pink hat when we integrate back into training to indicate non-contact which is not a bad way to move back into intense drills, and to allow your teammates to understand your situation and also allow yourself to progress at the pace that you need to gain the confidence to move into full uncontrolled contact. This can take time as you are taking on new movements at high intensity, which will bring nerves and doubts. That is normal, just back the program and all the work that you have put in which will have you in a great position to adapt quickly.
Exercises such as tackling, jump landing and overhead marking are important throughout this stage of the rehab. Utilise your coaches and ask them how they think you are going, what you are doing well as well as what is a work in progress, this way you can ensure that by the time you play, you will not have any glaring deficiencies. Things that take a little bit longer to come back to you whether it be tackling, uncontrolled marking or stoppage and contested situations are identified early which allows you to put the time into these areas to give you full confidence by the time you play. For me, it was things like being tackled, getting stepped around by an opponent and falling uncontrollably that can be simulated in a controlled environment. However, once you are up for it, working on and completing these focuses in a game mode where it is uncontrolled, is how I gained the most confidence and ultimately this allowed me to move forward.
Recovery is also very important as you will be pushing yourself to high levels of exhaustion and need the body and knee to recover as well as possible to be able to back up for sessions. This is where you should be right across your diet, sleep patterns and water recovery.