GRAND FINAL winner Stevie Ward has confirmed he won’t play again this season, becoming the first Leeds Rhinos player to be ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
The back-rower has not yet recovered from a shoulder dislocation suffered in a win away to Hull KR on April 28.
He had hoped to be back on the field within 12 weeks of the injury happening, but the latest specialist’s report has dashed his chances of returning this year.
“The nerve damage results have come back and it looks like I’ll be out until next year,” said the 19-year-old, who was a member of Leeds’ 2012 title-winning team.
“It’s not something you can rush and I’m not where I am supposed to be. It is a bit of a slow one, I can’t put into words how disappointed I am.
“It’s just about keeping busy now and trying to cope with it and make sure I fully recover.” Ward, who had problems with both shoulders last year, is confident there will be no lasting damage when he does get back on the field.
“Clinically it will be fine,” he said. “But nerve damage is something that happens when a shoulder dislocates.
“Nerves take a while to heal, but in pre-season I should be able to train normally.”
He admitted he is still coming to terms with his latest setback.
The injury happened soon after Ward was invited to train with the full England squad and at a time when he was established as a first-choice member of the Rhinos team.
“I am doing shoulder re-hab’ in the gym and I’ve started doing leg weights,” he said.
“I’ve been doing bikes since I first got injured, so I think I could ride in the Tour de France now.
“I have got to cope with it, but it is hard to come in and see the players getting on with things when I am not able to.
“It is disappointing, but I’ve just got to get on with it.”
Ward operated Rhinos’ official Twitter account during last Friday’s win at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, providing updates to the club’s 38,600 followers.
Along with a friend, he is also going into the music business, to produce a CD of Rhinos fans’
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