Sea Eagles physiotherapist Andre Rickenbach couldn’t say for certain that fullback Brett Stewart would be available for round one of the NRL in 2011.

Rickenbach said the club would need to wait until the New Year before it knew whether its star would be fit to start the season.

Stewart is recovering from a knee injury suffered in round one this year against the Wests Tigers - an injury which kept him out for the entire season.

“It's far too early to say he'll be ready for round one," Rickenbach told AAP.

"This (recovery) has taken a little bit longer because there was more damage to the injury, and he had to undergo two operations.

"Last time (Stewart was injured back in 2009) he had to undergo just one, which is why we're taking things nice and slowly at the moment.

"It's just one of many steps. We're not forecasting anything at this stage.

"It's progressing as planned and it's progressing nicely.

"He's got a few boxes to tick and it's small steps at a time, but we're getting there slowly.”