BERNARD BROGAN has revealed that he is in the final stages of recovery from the osteitis pubis injury which ruined his brother Alan's season last year.
The Dublin star did not, however, undergo major surgery on the problem and maintains that he hopes to feature during this year's League campaign, having carefully managed the injury with the All-Ireland champions' medical team.
While accepting that Dublin's first two spring outings against Kerry and Westmeath may fall too soon for his involvement, Brogan has pinpointed Dublin's subsequent fixture against Cork in Croke Park on March 1 as his immediate target to return to the team.
"I'm just rehabbing it now," he said. "I'm still building up the groin and the ab muscles and the core. It's reacting really well. Every week I'm just stepping it up and hopefully I'll be back on the pitch and out with the lads in the next couple of weeks."
Outlining the source of the injury – an inflammation of the pubic symphysis – Brogan explained: "Last year I wanted to play as much as I could so I played O'Byrne Cup, went straight into the League, played with Leinster (in the Interprovincial Championship). I played 11 weeks in a row or something like that and I just broke down.
"I was a bit naïve. I was moving well and I wanted to keep on playing. But I broke down. So as much as you need to play – and as a forward, you want to get as much game time and get your eye in – you do have to rest the body as well."
Consequently, Brogan hit a spell of underwhelming form early last summer, prompting much comment and speculation on his well-being.
Indeed, the St Oliver Plunkett's/ER man contends that he "never really caught fire again," adding: "I was struggling through the summer," ignoring the fact that his season concluded with a man of the match award in the All-Ireland final and a third All Star.
"The leg wasn't really bad but I was carrying it a bit," he said. "Just some of the sprint power I had and the kicking ... the thing was, I wasn't able to go out and practise my kicking, which I usually do twice a week as well as training and I wasn't able to get out and get my eye in.
"That's what really affected me. So this year I want to be able to do it right and get it out of the way early and get my preparation right." Helpfully, his awareness of the specific nature of the injury was better than most, given Alan's well-documented struggles last season.
"It's the exact same situation. So I have his guidance. He went through it and he had a couple of breakdowns throughout his comeback. So he knows what needs to be done.
"I have him there and the medical team have seen it all through him so I'm good hands."
On the subject of his older sibling, Brogan sounded suitably optimistic that, not only would Alan feature in a Dublin jersey again, his reappearance may come sooner rather than later.
The 2011 Footballer of the Year's fitness is suitably good that his predecessor reckons "he could be in the shout for the coming League games," provided, of course, he commits to another season with Dublin.
"I'm not going to speak for him but we're hoping he'll make the call," Bernard stressed.
"He's been out at training already so he could be in the shout for the coming League games. But that's the decision he has to make. I'm not sure. But we'll be pushing him in the direction to play another year or two anyway."
Asked whether Alan harbours feelings of unfinished business, Bernard commented: "I think so, personally. I felt very sorry for him. He's given so much to the Dublin jersey over 10 years.
"He was there on the pitch (after the All-Ireland final) and he enjoyed it but it's just not the same when you're not playing and he'll say that himself.
"I would say deep down in himself that he will feel there is unfinished business and we hope he'll want to put it right."