Alex McKinnon has stood up on his own for the time since a tragic spinal injury ended his career last March, Newcastle Knights coach Rick Stone has revealed.
Speaking to Sky Sports Radio, Stone brought up the news when asked what role McKinnon will play at the Knights in 2015.
"It's timely you ask that because he's just finished his rehab and he actually stood up unabated the other day for the first time," Stone said.
"He stood up on his own which is a terrific step for Alex."
As for his role at the Knights, Stone said he saw Alex being somewhat of an all-rounder at the club.
"We have been talking a little bit about a role here internally. He's going to start after the Australia Day weekend on the 27th of January and work with myself, Michael Hagan and Troy Pezet, who is our high performance coach, in and around footy," Stone said.
"He'll be looking at the videos and looking at other things, being involved with our recruitment, and he'll probably spend a day a week in the commercial area as well.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for Alex to get his teeth into something he really loves, his footy, and he's an inspiring young man and I think everyone at the club will be really happy to see him back and sort of get active at the club again."
The Knights released a statement on Wednesday in which McKinnon thanked supporters for their encouragement.
"I remain on the Gold Coast, where I have been for approximately three months as I continue rehabilitation at Making Strides," McKinnon said.
"I am in the final stages of my current rehabilitation program on the Gold Coast.
"When aided to stand up out of my chair, I am now able to stand for a short amount of time with assistance.
"I am set to return to Newcastle in the coming weeks to commence my new role with the Knights.
"Thank you as always, for the well wishes and encouragement."