All-rounder Luis Reece is hoping to make a return to the Derbyshire first-team before the end of the season after injury has kept him sidelined since the end of May.
The left-hander, who had been in good form with both bat and ball before the setback, suffered a broken metatarsal in his right foot during the Royal London One-Day Cup match with Yorkshire at The 3aaa County Ground.
He had scored 255 runs in four Specsavers County Championship matches at an average of 42.50, while he had contributed 174 runs and eight wickets in the first five Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures.
In an ongoing and structured rehabilitation programme, the 28-year-old is now out of his boot and continuing to progress well with his recovery. Able to weight-bear, he is gradually putting more weight through the foot and has been able to run in controlled conditions.
He is now looking forward to working towards running outdoors and returning to put his pads on to have a net at The 3aaa County Ground, with his goal still to return to the first team before the end of the season.
He said: “The rehabilitation is going well. Last week the grey boot came off and yesterday was my first running session at Derby County’s training centre, using their inflated treadmill to take some body weight away off the foot.
“I’m looking to progress forward and I’m slowly working towards the business end of my rehab.
“It’s been like learning to walk again which is a bit of a weird feeling. Once the boot was off I had a big grin on my face, learning to walk unaided on my own two feet again.
“It’s been a good week in terms of slowly moving again and being able to do more physical activity.
“It’s about building that up and the amount of weight I put on it, until in a couple of weeks I’m hopefully running on grass and that should be when things start to progress more quickly and I can get a bat in my hand and do some skills work.
“I’ve not been able to bat, bowl or field, but for me as a professional it was important to stay in the best shape possible an maintain the fitness I brought in over the winter.
“I’ve probably raised a few weird looks training in the gym with a grey boot on, but it’s been down to me to make sure that when I’m passed fit with my foot that the rest of my body is as fit as it can be.”
The Club’s medical team, in consultation with specialists, have devised a rehabilitation programme which offers the opportunity for a return to cricket by the end of the summer, should Reece’s recovery remain on track.
Buoyed and motivated by a potential return to the field of play, Reece remains fixed on this aim and hopes he can play a part for Derbyshire before the season is out.
He added: “Hopefully the transition when I return to full fitness is not too big and I can get back into four-day cricket again.
“That remains my goal, to play some four-day cricket before the end of the year.
“The plan we’ve put together suggests the opportunity will be there to play some cricket – whether that’s first team, second team or club cricket, that’s not for me to decide.
“All I can do is make sure I’m as physically ready as possible and if I do get chance to take part I’ll be itching to go and I’m sure you’ll see a grin from ear to ear.”
Four-day cricket is back! Derbyshire host three Specsavers County Championship matches in August and September. Buy in advance and save.