The Brazilian international injured knee ligaments and was stretchered from the field against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November 2011.
After eight months on the sidelines, he returned only to suffer a thigh injury against Manchester City in August.
Since making his first-team comeback in December, Lucas has showed signs of rediscovering the sort of form that secured him fans’ favourite status on the Kop.
However, Rodgers warned that supporters may have to wait until next season to see the midfielder back at his very best.
“I’ve been delighted with Lucas,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo. “We were very wary of the fact he had had a serious knee injury last season, and then obviously another problem on top of that this season. It was important for the team to get him back, but it was important for him that we did so at the right pace and that we paced his recovery right.
“It is a big credit to him as a professional. He has worked so hard, and his attitude and his application has been first class. He deserves every praise for the way he has conducted himself.
“I still believe, having worked with these kind of injuries in the past, that it won’t be until the summer, and beyond even, that we see him back at full level.”
Following his first lengthy lay-off, Lucas made a long-awaited return to action during Liverpool’s preseason tour of North America.
His first minutes in a red shirt for eight months came when he took to the field as a substitute against Toronto FC in July 2012.
And Rodgers believes the 26-year-old will prosper greatly from a full preseason training this summer.
“It will be great for him to get a full preseason with the group under his belt,” continued the manager. “But you can see in recent games that his mobility and the speed of his game is getting better and better all the time. As I say, it is a credit to him. He’s been fantastic.”
Photo via Liverpoolfc.com
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