Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee has set his sights on a return to NFL action, two months after suffering a torn ligament in his neck, reports ESPN.com.
The 27-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, remains positive about his chances of a comeback in time for the 2014 season, despite the fact he is yet to be fully cleared by the team's medical staff.
"I'm working all the neck exercises," explained Lee. "I think it was just having time to heal, allowing that ligament to heal, and it takes a certain amount of time. I think we're on the path to where it's pretty much there.
"I don't need surgery, which is a positive. But I didn't play at the end of the year at a very critical time, and it's been two years in a row, and I need to be out there.
"There's no excuse for it. I've got to find a way to stay on the football field."
Lee missed the final three games of the 2013 season after getting hurt in a defeat against the Chicago Bears in December, which came off the back of two games he missed with a hamstring injury.
It brings the linebacker's total number of missed games to 18 in his first four seasons, and Cowboys fans will be hoping that the injury-prone star is now on the road to a full recovery, particularly after signing a six-year contract extension worth up to $51 million last summer.
"I think I've had a combination of injuries, like the hamstring would be an injury-prone type of injury," he continued. "I think I've also had some bad luck where I got rolled up in a pile with my toe and I've gotten hit by my own guy in a pile.
"I need to find a way to stay healthy, whether it's finding a way to be stronger and not having the hamstring deal or it's hopefully having a little bit better luck. I need a combination of both going forward."
The Cowboys open their official offseason program on April 21, and head coach Jason Garrett will be hopeful that Lee is back on the field.