Blues players on the mend
NEWS: The Blues' fans will have to wait some time before seeing All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams don their jersey as he continues to undergo rehabilitation on his Achilles tendon.
Williams ruptured the tendon at the Rio Olympics but is progressing well in his rehabilitation and is expected to return at some stage in the Blues' opening eight-game block until their first bye.
Rene Ranger, along with former New Zealand Under-20 star TJ Faiane, suffered season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injuries in 2016 and both have faced long-term rehabilitation - Faiane for 13 months and Ranger for 11 months.
The pair are expected to play a full part in the Blues pre-season plans which get underway in early December 2016.
"Both [Ranger and Faiane] have done a great job in terms of rehabilitation following their surgeries. These sorts of injuries require real patience and discipline and both guys have coped well with the situation and the mental challenges to do things by the book," Blues medical director, Dr Stephen Kara said.
Captain James Parsons is due to return for the start of pre-season after more than two months out with acute concussion.
George Moala has returned home from the All Blacks Northern Tour with an elbow ligament injury but Dr Kara believes he should also be ready early in the pre-season training block.
A number of players have minor injuries suffered during the Cup competition but all are expected to be ready for the start of pre-season training. These include Michael Collins (hand injury), Piers Francis (hand), Blake Gibson (shoulder), Josh Goodhue (ankle), Sam Nock (hand), Declan O'Donnell (wrist) and Jimmy Tupou (face).
The other members of the All Blacks will make gradual returns to the Blues with the likes of Jerome Kaino, Patrick Tuipulotu and Charlie Faumuina the last to come back to the squad before the start of the season.