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Mansour won't make early return: Panthers

NZN 12/05/2017 Steve Zemek

Penrith winger Josh Mansour won't return before State of Origin I, with Panthers coach Anthony Griffin snuffing out any chance of him making an early comeback.

Mansour this week took a giant step towards his NRL return from a knee reconstruction when he began contact work.

Despite making better-than-expected progress in his rehabilitation from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, suffered on last year's Four Nations tour, he isn't due back until round 13.

The incumbent NSW Blues' winger has been active on social media about his progress and is pushing hard to get back on the park.

However, Griffin said he wouldn't be returning against Newcastle next week and, with the side enjoying the bye in round 12, they set his return date for their June 6 clash with Canterbury.

"Definitely not - we thought he might have been a chance for next week but it's round 13," Griffin said.

"He won't play next weekend, then we have the bye, then he'll play."

Mansour running around on his own under the watchful eye of the Penrith high-performance staff has been a regular sight at the Panthers Rugby League Academy over the past few months.

The 26-year-old had a cadaver ligament inserted into his knee as part of the reconstruction, significantly shorteneing his rehabilitation time.

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