JETS recruit James Brown is running without pain for the first time in five months.
The livewire midfielder completed his second field session at his new club yesterday and hopes to be training with the main group in a fortnight.
Brown has been hampered by bruising in his left foot since February when he limped off during the Gold Coast’s clash with Melbourne Victory in Launceston.
He came back for the final two A-League games of the season but was restricted.
But after a good break and different treatment from the Jets medical staff, the 23-year-old star in the making is now champing at the bit.
‘‘It has been a while since I have been running around pain free,’’ Brown said after completing a cardio session under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Adam Waterson.
‘‘It has been a pretty long off-season with the injury coming towards the end of last season.
‘‘It was nice to be out there with the boys, going through what they go through.’’
Brown had a cortisone injection last week and has undergone a intensive rehabilitation program to improve the range of movement in his foot.
‘‘I did the injury against Melbourne down in Tasmania,’’ he said.
‘‘I came back too soon against Perth [in the penultimate round] and backed up against the Roar and wasn’t 100per cent.
‘‘I tried to push it and unfortunately it caught up with me.
‘‘When I did change of direction I felt a sharp pain. I was definitely restricted in my movement.
‘‘I have been doing a lot of mobilisation work and balance work which has helped.’’
An Olyroo, Brown scored six goals in 17 appearances for the Gold Coast, including a couple of contenders for goal of the year.
He is the Jets’ highest-profile signing to date and is confident of producing more with an injury-free season.
‘‘I want to at least get back to the level I was before I was injured,’’ he said.
‘‘Down here we do a lot more stuff off the pitch in terms of gym and prehab work. If I can stay injury free I have plenty more to offer.’’
Brown and fellow new boy Scott Neville have moved into the townhouse of former Jets defender Tarek Elrich in Merewether.
‘‘I’m from the Tweed area, ’’ Brown said. ‘‘Merewether is very similar to where I’m from. That played a big part in me coming to Newcastle.
‘‘I don’t like the big cities too much. I’m into my music and do a bit of fishing. That is all the boys talk about here.
‘‘It’s important to have something off the pitch and have the right balance.’’
Assistant coach Craig Deans said Brown’s return to the pitch provided a lift but insisted he would not be rushed.
‘‘He will have another week or two with a modified program,’’ Deans said. ‘‘It is a long pre-season. We need everyone firing come the first game.
‘‘If he can recreate some of the performances he had at the Gold Coast we would be over the moon.’’
The Jets moved into their second phase of pre-season yesterday and there was a noticeable lift in intensity.
‘‘These next four weeks we are trying to build game fitness,’’ Deans said.
‘‘We have a conditioning model. I guess you could say is the proper start to the pre-season. It was a really good session today. Good intensity and good quality.’’