Dolphins forward Thomas Gilbert has confirmed he is still aiming for a return in Round 1 of the 2024 NRL season.

Gilbert, who missed most of the 2023 season after suffering a shoulder injury during the first game of last year's Origin series, had his return to the NRL ruined by a pre-season ACL injury.

Instead of a recovery getting underway immediately though, Gilbert found himself facing a major set back after suffering a blood clot during the flight home from New Zealand.

That clot then spread to his lungs, meaning he couldn't - and still hasn't - been in for surgery.

The general recovery time from an ACL injury is between nine and twelve months, although generally surgery occurs some weeks after the injury given it allows time for settling of the joint.

Despite the recovery time, Gilbert told the media per AAP this week that he is still aiming to be back on the park in time for Round 1 next year.

"It is a funny injury at the moment. I have been training on it, walking and all kinds of things," he said.

"I can break out of a jog. I am definitely going to go backwards post-surgery but that is the nature of what is about to happen."

"Round 1 next year is the goal (for return to play) but I want to come back to the squad and contributing. I don't want to be a burden."

The forward will - if he can get back to his best - be a big inclusion for the Dolphins.

The former North Queensland Cowboy, who has played for the Queensland State of Origin team, may not return at lock however given the breakout form of Max Plath in the club's number 13 jersey.

Gilbert, however, has played second row for his state, and he could return to that position for Kristian Woolf's team in 2025.