Brett has similar knee problems as Bowen which is why he cannot be rushed back too early. Â Sorry dan just realised I should have put this through the article section. JOSH ALSTON August 24th, 2009 A BRAVE Matt Bowen has vowed to return to the NRL despite learning his right knee will require similar radical surgery to that which wrecked his 2008 season. The quicksilver fullback has been below his best in recent weeks - largely because the cartilage in the joint has degenerated to the same point his left knee did last year. Bowen limped from the field in the Cowboys' 32-26 loss to the Knights on Saturday night after aggravating a strain in his left knee early in the game. That injury is a result of him favouring the repaired joint to spare any further damage on the right. The club is expected to rush him into surgery in the post-season for a matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implant operation which would rule him out until at least July next year. The procedure involves having cartilage grown on a matrix to be inserted into the knee and would leave him immobile for 10 weeks and unable to play football for 10 months. The process is not without risks and could place the 27-year-old's career in jeopardy, although the devastated fullback has braced himself to endure the long rehab for a second time and return next season. ''I spoke to (physio) Steve (Sartori) and the doc and it's similar to what I did last year,'' Bowen said. ''It's going to be a long recovery again but hopefully it will be successful like the left knee. ''I know what to expect now, being laid up for almost 10 weeks when I had the left one done. It's all right mate, hopefully it recovers.'' Medical staff will assess the knee in the coming weeks although the surgery seem an inevitable process to ensure Bowen plays in the years to come. His presence last year was sorely missed after he finally bowed to the injury and went under the knife following the Cowboys' round eight clash against South Sydney. He has shown patches of his best form late in this season after a slow start following the first round of surgery and was clinical in the club's 34-18 mauling of the Titans in round 21. The usual spark has gone missing in the last three weeks, though, as the Cowboys have crashed to three straight losses and out of the NRL top eight. While losing Bowen for the majority of the 2010 season will be a heavy blow, getting his right knee fixed could extend his career by two years. It will be a tough call for the club to make but coach Neil Henry said it would be vital to bring him back to his best form in the coming seasons. 'Both knees have degenerated a bit ... we need to make a decision or not whether he needs to have that same operation done on his other knee now and that's looking likely,'' he said. ''It's quite a long, drawn-out process, if he got the other knee done it's 10 months recovery. ''It would put him out for the first half of the season regardless, he would be out until July and that's if he can get it done in the next six weeks.'' Bowen is hopeful he can recover quickly from his latest setback on his left knee and play the remaining two games of the season. ''(Saturday) night the left knee was pretty sore and I couldn't do much,'' he said. ''I couldn't have done much about it and hopefully it recovers for this weekend.''