New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower has revealed that he does not have a "target date" set for his return from a shoulder injury.
The 25-year-old played through the pain barrier towards the end of last season as he helped his side triumph in the Super Bowl, but then underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Reports claimed that he could be out for up to seven months, which would see him return just in time for the start of the 2015 season, although Hightower has only suggested that he is making progress in his recovery.
"Honestly, I don't have a target date," Hightower told reporters. "I've seen doc, and everything is going great right now. I'm right on track, if not a little ahead of schedule.
"It's something that's going to take time. I can't say 'three weeks' or whatever. It feels great. I'm doing good. Doc loved everything. He said I'm ahead of schedule, so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing."
Hightower recorded 89 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble for the Patriots in the 2014 season.