Plymouth Albion's Dan Lee likely to be loaned out to prove his fitness
PLYMOUTH Albion youngster Dan Lee is likely to go out on loan as he bids to return from a serious knee injury.
The 19-year-old back-row forward is close to full fitness again after having his knee reconstructed in the summer.
However, with Albion no longer having a second team and with no more British & Irish Cup matches left to play, the only chance for the former Ivybridge Community College student to be able to prove his worth is likely to be at another club.
"Paris Payne (Albion physio) has said I'm good to go in contact sessions now and the club are looking for me to maybe go somewhere for a couple of weeks to get some match fitness up and then come back in and push for a first team place," said the former England Under-18 Clubs and Schools international, who will turn 20 next month.
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"There is only so much you can do in training. I need to prove myself in a game whatever standard it might be to be able to push for a first team position here."
Lee, having featured in four Albion first team matches at the start of last season, ended the year at Barnstaple.
But Lee does not think he will be returning to Barum, where his two brothers are registered, as they are in a league too low for Albion to be able to recall him after the transfer deadline day.
"Barnstaple would not really be an option as I would like to push for a first team place here," said Lee. "When I was sent on loan (to Barnstaple) last year I could not come back as it was too big a drop down the leagues.
"Maybe a team higher up (than Barnstaple) would be an option, so that if I was not involved here I could go away for a couple of weeks and get that experience of just playing rugby somewhere."
Lee, who played for England Counties Under-20s last season, is desperate to get back on the field after so long out of the game.
"The time I've been out is shorter than I first imagined when I first saw the surgeon," he said. "But rehab went that well that I thought I might be back straight after Christmas rather than the end of January.
"But I decided to take it steady just before Christmas as I was getting a little ahead of myself.
"It was such a big operation I had. It was not just standard ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery I had, it was MCL (medial collateral ligament) as well.
"My knee was literally ripped apart and put back together, but it has gone better than I thought it would."
Lee does not have to look far to see how hard it can be coming back from a serious injury. His older brother Mark broke his leg against Exeter Chiefs in his second season at Albion.
"My parents have both said that I have had a much better attitude to my injury than he did," said Lee. "But he was established when he did it and it was a really big shock and a step back for him as he was up there, whereas I was working my way up."
So what are Lee's targets for the rest of the season?.
He said: "I would like to be involved in the squad for a handful or more Championship games, but just to be involved in the squad would be good.
"But Herbie (Stupple) is back from injury now and everyone else is fit in the back-row. There is a lot of class in the back-row here. It is one of the hardest positions to try and push for."