The North Queensland Cowboys have revealed Jason Taumalolo is making positive progress in his push to return from a knee injury.

Taumalolo last played in Round 7 against the New Zealand Warriors, having played through the pain barrier during the first two months of the season as he battled a knee injury.

Revealed as a meniscus problem, Taumalolo went in for surgery after Round 7, and while the club are refusing to put a timeline on his return to play yet, strength and conditioning coach Ash Graham said the Tongan representative forward could return to running next week.

"He has had surgery about two weeks ago now and has started his rehab process," Graham told the Cowboys' club website.

"Initially while the wounds are open from the surgery it's pretty light obviously with the risk of infection, so we don't do too much, but we have started back this week and he is allowed to sweat now.

"He has been tearing into his cardio work, doing some strength work and making sure he has the range in his knee. Making sure he has the strength back as well.

"Protentially he will start running next week if all goes to plan."

He added there were key criteria that Taumalolo would have to hit to return to the field, with it seemingly being at least another few weeks until he can play again.

"Obviously strength in his knee and make sure it's tolerating the load we put through it," Graham said.

"Making sure it's not swelling up too much and that it's recovering from sessions. Also making sure he has his range and strength back are the main things we are looking for."

Graham revealed Taumalolo had been playing through the injury during the opening eight weeks of the season, pushing through the pain until it became too much to handle.

"Jason had been carrying that for a little while now. Obviously quite a painful injury, just a little bit of cartilage floating around in his knee, which as you could imagine would be quite uncomfortable," Graham said.

"He pushed through that pain for quite a while. Credit to him being able to play with it in the first place."

The Cowboys, who beat the Sydney Roosters last weekend, but have otherwise struggled over the first part of the 2023 campaign, sit in 14th spot ahead of Saturday's clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons, having won four from their ten games.

Without their first bye until Round 15, Taumalolo could miss games in the coming weeks against the Dragons, Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels and Melbourne Storm, although he may well target the back-end of that stretch leading into their first bye to be back on the park for Todd Payten's side, who must find a run of form is they are to compete for a finals spot this season.