The lofty lock had been playing through the pain barrier for a number of months, with an ankle problem preventing him from reaching his peak.
But after helping England to a 3-0 series victory in Australia, he had surgery to make sure he will be in top condition for the new campaign.
And after returning to pre-season training this week, he is now looking forward to putting in a huge effort for his club in the forthcoming campaign, which begins on September 3.
“My ankle was playing up for a long time,” the 27-year-old said. “I initially injured it about three years ago, so it’s been bad for a long, long while and it feels a lot better now.
Super Zaib helps Steelbacks to chase down Eagles
Saints players can show what they are made of during hectic start to season
Northamptonshire share spoils with Warwickshire after 'turgid' final day
NORTHANTS CRICKET LEAGUE: All your results and fixtures
Ripley admits Northants will 'have to do it the hard way' as they bid to save game at Lancashire
“Obviously I haven’t started running yet, but in the gym, doing certain things, it feels a lot better, so hopefully this season will be a big one for me.
“It was a big clean out – there was a lot of stuff in there that shouldn’t have been there – but like I said I’m looking forward to getting back out there and seeing how much of a difference it’s going to make.
“At the start of the season, and during it, hopefully I’ll be able to train a bit more and things like that so it’s onwards and upwards from here.”