MICHAEL Shenton’s injury hell is finally over.
The tough-tackling strike centre endured a frustrating pre-season battling back from the freak injury he suffered at the end of last season.
Nerve damage to his shoulder meant the St Helens ace was able to complete all the gruelling fitness training sessions.
But when it came to game time or contact sessions, Shenton was forced to sit it out.
“It’s been a frustrating injury because it has just healed in its own time,” said Shenton. There is nothing I could have done to speed up the recovery process.”
The England international damaged his shoulder in Saints’ epic play-off semi-final against Wigan. However, the extent of the injury wasn’t immediately apparent, and Shenton went on to play in the Grand Final.
Shenton was playing what was probably his best game in a Saints shirt in the Old Trafford encounter when injury struck again – this time a dislocated elbow.
“The elbow looked bad but it healed fairly quickly,” said the 25-year-old. It’s the nerve damage to the shoulder that’s been the real problem.
“But to be fair, the medical teams were able to give me a date when I’d be back, so there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Shenton, who played 32 times last season, scoring 13 tries, made his return to first-team action against Hull KR on Saturday, crashing over the whitewash for Saints’ second try.
And after such an unceremonious end to the 2011 campaign, he’s keen to make up for lost time.
“There’s no nerves to be honest about getting back into the side just excitement, really,” he said.
“It was great to see the first game. Obviously I’d have loved to have played but there was no jealously on my part.
“The team’s really gelling well. You’re always looking for improvements and as the team gets more game time together, those improvements will come.
“The new signings have bedded in well. The new boys like Lance Hohaia will only get better the more they play in the team and the more they get their hands on the ball.
“There’s nothing like real match practice.”