Bristol Rovers defender Coles nursed back to fitness by Tiger's strength coach
Bristol Rovers are increasingly confident that Danny Coles will be fit to start next season – after the defender spent a fortnight in America with the expert who helped golf star Tiger Woods overcome his knee problem.
The Pirates' centre-back arrived back in the UK in the early hours of this morning after two weeks at the Killington Medical Centre in Vermont, where he worked on a one-to-one basis with Bill Knowles.
Knowles is widely regarded as one of the world's leading experts in rehabilitation following knee injuries and as well as working as Woods' strengthening and conditioning coach, he has also helped an array of other leading sports stars back to fitness.
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Woods had an operation to repair his anterior cruciate ligament in June 2008 and then worked with Knowles before returning to competitive golf in February this year.
Coles managed only five starts for Rovers last term and his season ended in October after suffering complications following two operations on the cartilage in his right knee.
At one stage he looked on course to return for the latter part of the campaign, but suffered a reaction after resuming training.
"Things have gone brilliantly for Danny out in the States and the important news is that he has had no reaction to the work he has been doing," said Kite.
"Bill Knowles is one of the leading men in the world when it comes to rehabilitation after knee injuries and he has been doing some innovative work with Danny, which has been quite intensive.
"There are places over here that could have helped, but with all due respect to them, Mr Knowles is at a different level. Danny has been doing four sessions a day with him from 9am to 4pm on a one-to-one basis.
"If there was going to be an adverse reaction then you would have thought he would have suffered some pain or swelling while he was out there, but he has come through it all fine, which is very encouraging.
"He has been given a programme to follow through the rest of the summer and we are 99 per cent positive that he will be able to hit the ground running when he reports back for pre-season training.
"It will be necessary to adapt his training schedule a little bit to protect his knee and the real proof will come when he starts playing again, but it's definitely not a Ledley King situation.
"We are hopeful that it's going to be like having a new signing available to us next season, because he was only able to play a very limited amount of games for us last time."
As well as concentrating on Coles' problematic right knee, Knowles also oversaw strengthening work on the left knee, which needed surgery for cruciate ligament damage while the defender was with Hull.
Meanwhile, central defender Craig Hinton – who was released by Rovers this summer – has spent the week at Lilleshall in a bid to speed his recovery from the problems which needed injections in both knees and cut short his final season with the Pirates.
The former Kidderminster Harriers player has been linked with interest from Hereford United, Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town as he looks to relaunch his career elsewhere.