McManus happy to keep shooting from the hip
In the short term, Conor McManus hopes to see a little bit of game time before Monaghan start their Division 1 campaign next month.
In the long term, he's looking at a hip replacement.
Every close-season is the same now. There's rehab and prehab on the hip injury that has troubled him throughout his career. Sometimes, less is more for the former All-Star so sitting out the phoney wars in January can help ensure he's primed for the real thing later in the year.
"It's basically a thing that will get worse over time and you just have to take a bit of time to keep it right and make sure it's bullet-proof going into the league and Championship," McManus explained. "That's the plan, to get it into as good a condition as it can be so that as you go through the season that it won't break down.
"I had surgery back in 2011 so it's just rehab and keeping on top of it. I probably could be training during that time but if I did it's likely to raise its head during the year and there is no point in that. I do my own bits and pieces away from the lads to make sure it's right for when you need it to be right.
"You are probably looking at a hip replacement down the line, hopefully that's as far away as possible but then you just deal with it."
The Clontibret clubman was speaking at the launch of a GAA/GPA/ESRI research project aimed at helping inter-county players manage their personal and professional lives better.
And while playing inter-county piles the pressure on his injured hip, he believes it's something that might have come his way anyway.
"They reckon playing football at a higher level triggers it moreso than if you weren't. But it's probably something that was there and maybe (I didn't) know the full extent of it when I was younger and not having the right training methods and things like that when I was 17, 18 or 19.
"That probably brought it on a wee bit more but at least now I know and I can manage it and it's under control as best it can be."
McManus' clubmate Declan Brennan is heading up the newly-formed Club Players' Association (CPA) and the Monaghan star thinks their emergence can only be a good thing for the GAA.
And he believes the pressure on clubs can be relieved by simply compressing the inter-county schedule.
"I don't know if they'll have to get overly radical or not. I think everybody is aware that there's issues with the fixtures and this is why this (study) is being carried out today, to look after players' welfare and to try and get a common ground.
"I'm assuming everybody is in the one boat in terms of getting a solution to it all. The CPA can only help that along.
"Everybody is in agreement what needs to be done in the calendar. Talk to anybody in GAA circles and they are all in the same boat. It's just about probably about condensing it a wee bit and allowing more time at the end of the year for the clubs and club football.
"I don't think any major fuss needs to be made of it. I think it's a fairly simple solution, just tighten up the county schedule and away you go."
Monaghan's 2016 championship ended with a shock Qualifier defeat to Longford and McManus (below) reckons that loss will help focus minds.
"We never really looked much at (the Longford game), to be honest.
"When you get a defeat like that, that's the end of your year and everyone just goes their own way back to their clubs and wherever else. The boys came back in in November-December to get training, that's the focus in the mind at that stage to be honest, it's just about getting back, getting football into the legs and working as hard as you can in preparation for the new year.
"Maybe there will come a time down the line when maybe we will look back and see where (we could improve from it) but it's very much about taking this year on its own merits and taking it step by step, trying to become a better team.
"Obviously we tried to do that last year and we came up short, so we've a lot of work to do."