Adelaide defender Nick Murray says he is “ahead of schedule” in his rehabilitation from a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Murray has been sidelined since the Crows’ Round 19 clash against Melbourne last season, and it put an end to a promising campaign, which had him play a career-high 17 matches.

But the 23-year-old has been working hard to get back on the park, and returned to non-contact training drills with the main group last week, ticking off a major milestone in his rehabilitation program.

Speaking to AFC Media, the defender said he was pleased with how his recovery was going.

“Everything is tracking really well, I’m ahead of schedule which is nice and have been getting back into non-contract training over the past couple of weeks,” Murray said. 

“Being back on the track has been very refreshing, it can get a bit repetitive during rehab at times, so to be able to get among the boys and have a kick, it’s been great. 

“Right now everything is moving along smoothly and I’m headed in the right direction which is really pleasing.”

“Being back on the track has been very refreshing.

Since sustaining the injury six months ago, Murray admitted there had been some challenges along the way, as he worked on building strength back in his knee.

However, the process has also given him an opportunity to reflect and gain some perspective on just how lucky he is to be an AFL player.

“The off-season was probably the hardest (time) to be honest, that was right at the start of the process when I wasn’t able to run, and I was constantly in the gym just working,” Murray said. 

“But I’ve just tried to stay as positive as I can throughout the whole process, and the support of not only the boys but all the staff has been huge in keeping me in a good mind-set.

“Over this period, I’ve learned a lot about myself and mainly just how lucky I am to play footy, there were times over the start of my career that I took being able to play and train on a daily basis for granted.

“Footy is full of challenges, and going through this has helped me build a bit more resilience.”

This off-season has, however, also had its positives, with Murray’s brother Toby arriving at the Club as a marquee SANFL signing.

Joining the AFL squad for its pre-season training program, he said it had been great to reunite with family in Adelaide.

“Looking over at the training group and seeing my brother over there, it did take a little bit of getting used to,” Murray said.

“He’s fitting in quite well with the group and in the city of Adelaide as well, he’s definitely loving the move so far.

“I’ve loved having Toby around, it’s certainly lifted the spirits, having family close by, and hopefully we can get a game or two together next year.”

Looking forward to this season, Murray said it was important to continue ticking off little milestones and return to action as soon as possible.

“At the moment the main focus is slowly integrating more and more with the main group,” Murray said.

“It’s a bit of a wait and see at the moment, but all I can do is control what I can control on the training track and get myself in the best position possible to get back.

“Fingers crossed I will be back out on the park sooner rather than later.”