CHRIS Dean is climbing walls to return to action with Widnes Vikings this season.

The 29-year-old back-row forward or centre is progressing with his recovery from an upper body injury that has seen him sidelined since the home game against Hull FC in May.

He has been working hard with the club’s medical team and taken a novel approach to returning to fitness.

“I am about 3 or 4 weeks away now, and the recovery is coming on really well,” he said.

“I’m just getting my strength back up to where it should be and then hopefully I’ll be back in contention to play again.”

Dean has been following a vigorous rehabilitation programme.

Last week, this saw him visit BeBoulder in Widnes, a rock climbing facility - an innovative approach to build his strength and test his progress.

“Rock climbing is something different for this kind of injury and I’ve enjoyed it. You know you’ve got to work hard in the gym and on the field on a day-to-day basis, but it’s nice to get out of your usual surroundings, too," he said.

“For me to go to different places and try varying methods of rehab keeps me focused, so it’s been really positive.

"The climbing has been quite tough, and it has tested a number of things that I’ve been working on, so it’s been very beneficial.”

Dean says he is desperate to get back into action as soon as possible.

“It has been a frustrating year for me as I’ve had two big injuries. I’ve only played five games this year, so I’m absolutely itching to get back out on the field and help the lads," he said.

“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, be professional about it and hopefully I’ll be back as soon as possible.”

With the Vikings having six games remaining to secure their Super League status for the 2018 season, he is determined to return and help ensure the Vikings safety.

“There’s nothing more frustrating for a rugby league player than to be sitting in the stands and watching the games week in, week out. Hopefully, I’ll be back very soon and can help make a difference.”