FRUSTRATED BACK-ROWER Brett Delaney has taken a step forward in his recovery from a freak double injury.
Delaney suffered ligament damage to both knees in Leeds Rhinos’ 40-0 win over Warrington Wolves on May 26, but had the braces removed this week and is hoping to be back in action for the Super-8s, which begin in August.
The injury was a huge blow to the 31-year-old Australian forward, who seemed to be making progress following recent fitness problems, but he insisted he won’t let the latest setback beat him.
“I’ve done a grade two mcl [medial collateral ligament] in both knees,” Delaney confirmed.
“I got the brace off on Monday, but there’s no time frame.
“Now I’ve got the brace off I’ve got to get used to walking again, then run and get back fit.
“I’d say probably five weeks-plus from now. I am not going to rush things; I want to come back fully fit.”
Delaney joined Rhinos from Gold Coast Titans ahead of the 2010 season and has scored 27 tries in 192 appearances.
The Warrington game was his 11th of the season after recovering from a dislocated kneecap suffered against Featherstone Rovers last August.
“It does my head in sometimes,” Delaney – a three-time Grand Final winner – said of his recent run of bad luck.
“But the latest injury could have happened to anyone – I have just got to get through it.”
Ligament injuries are an occupational hazard for rugby players, but damaging both knees in the same incident is unprecedented. Delaney, who did not need surgery, said: “Trust me to do it!
“If I’m going to do something I do it in style, instead of one, do both. It has been a nightmare walking around with braces on both knees for three weeks solid.
“It has been tough this time. It hit me hard pretty early, but I can see the light now I’ve got the braces off.
“I’ve done some work on the bike and I’ll get in and do some re-hab and some physio and crack on.
“I am probably looking at [being back for] the Super-8s. It is hard, obviously it would be a lot easier if it was one knee, but it’s two knees.
“It is double the trouble, but I have got a good support team. Everyone at the club’s been rock-solid and the boys have been great.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but I’ll just crack on.”
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott was due to name his initial 19-man squad for Friday’s visit of Betfred Super League leaders Castleford Tigers this afternoon.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan is available after serving a one-match ban when Rhinos beat Featherstone in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last weekend.
Ashton Golding (hamstring) and Rob Burrow (shoulder) are also hopeful of being given the all-clear to return this week.
Jimmy Keinhorst, who has missed the last 12 games following surgery on a hand, is expected to be back in contention next month.