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Injured Knights hooker Slade Griffin has been a message-runner for coach Nathan Brown.

Injured Newcastle hooker Slade Griffin is closing in on a return after more than a year out following his fourth knee reconstruction.

Griffin hasn't been sighted since round 16 last season after he ruptured his ACL and tore his meniscus in a horrific mishap while passing the ball to Herman Ese'ese for a try against the Bulldogs.

The 28-year-old underwent two surgery procedures in Melbourne and also spent time there for rehabilitation sessions over the past 13 months.

Knights fans have caught a glimpse of Griffin recently, with the former Kiwi international being used as coach Nathan Brown's 'blue' trainer, barking orders to the players and offering drinks on the run.

"It's great to get back on the field with the boys again and get the adrenaline going. It just breaks up my training a little bit instead on running by myself in the cold," Griffin told

"Browny gives me some messages and I run out and send it to the boys. It's just good to get the kilometres in my legs and you've got to get on and off the field pretty quick.

Knights utility forward Slade Griffin.
Knights utility forward Slade Griffin. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

"I've been a little bit delayed with a few hiccups which happens. To get back out there will be boys is really enjoyable. I run out there and have the best seats in the house but I'd much rather be tackling."

Newcastle will have Danny Levi and Connor Watson as options at hooker going into the final games of the regular season but Griffin's return could throw a spanner in the works.

Match fitness and confidence are the main factors that could affect his overall comeback but Griffin was confident of making an impact.

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The Knights' cautious approach towards Griffin's recovery is considered a long-term priority.

The club took a similar approach with Tautau Moga's return from an ACL rupture this year, his fourth in five seasons, with the former Broncos centre only returning to first grade last week.

"More and more over the last two weeks, building into this next month of his final return phase, he’s in more and more NRL sessions," Knights head of physical performance, Balin Cupples said of Griffin.

"We should see him in that early Round 21-23 range returning to football. It's a testament to the medical department and the amount of work Slade's put in."

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