AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 13: Joey Leilua of the Raiders looks on during the round 23 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canberra Raiders at Mt Smart Stadium on August 13, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

The Raiders have received exciting news from Joey Leilua’s surgeon, confirming that the strike centre is cleared to return to full squad training.

Having undergone spinal surgery three months ago, Leilua’s fitness will be closely monitored and assessed as he returns to training and aims to return to the field for Canberra.

Leilua suffered a herniated and bulging disc in April, forcing him to undergo urgent spinal surgery following MRI scans, with the injury placing alarming pressure on his spinal cord.

The diagnosis came as a shock to the league, as Leilua suffered the injury in the first half of the round seven clash against Manly, where he went on to play out the 80 minutes.

Leilua has surprised surgeons and Raiders medical staff following his 12-week recovery program, as he continues to regain strength in his neck and upper-body.

“Joey met with the doctors today and the news is positive for both Joey and his family, but also the entire Raiders club,’’ Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said.

“The specialists are happy with everything which will allow Joey to commence training.

“We’ll assess what that looks like over the next 24-hours.’’

When questioned about a potential return for Leilua this season, Sturt Said: “Given what the medical staff are saying and Joey’s level of confidence, I can’t see why not.

“But in the end, we’ll be guided by what’s right for Joey. If that’s sooner rather than later, or vice versa, so be it.

“It’s just wonderful that with such a serious injury, Joey has come through the other side.’’

When asked about his focus on a return to the field, Leilua was happy that there was still a chance at all.

“The first day I got out of hospital, all I could think of was the kids.” Leilua said.

“Then after five days of doing nothing, all I could think about is getting back out onto the field.

“I’m sick of looking at the same walls, same TV, but I’ve got to do what is right.

“I’m one of the lucky ones.’’

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