Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice has suggested that Colm Cooper will be eased back into competitive action and may not return for the opening rounds of the National League.
Cooper is continuing to step up his recovery from a cruciate knee injury he suffered last February while in club action with Dr Crokes.
The Gooch wore the number 28 jersey and took part in the warm-up before the All-Ireland final arousing suggestions that he could have figured but Kerry manager Fitzmaurice has revealed that he still has a long road to travel on his rehabilitation.
“He is back working in the gym. He is back running. He is in good shape. He has made great progress with his knee, but he isn’t ready to play football yet,” Fitzmaurice said in an interview with Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk.
“I would be hoping that by March next year Colm will be back ready to play football. He’ll feature in some of the league games in the March, April window to give him a bit of football.
“That will be like having a new player because Colm is only itching to get back into it. He is in a position where he is going to be able to really drive it on and drive us on next year. In soccer terms it is going to be like getting a new signing getting someone like Colm back in. It is fantastic.”