Leeds Rhinos: Mac refuses to write off season for veteran JJB

PART TO PLAY: For Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
PART TO PLAY: For Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
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LEEDS RHINOS coach Brian McDermott is refusing to write-off his veteran forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan, despite another injury setback.

McDermott said the luckless England back-rower is “likely” to miss Sunday’s visit of Catalan Dragons and the following Friday’s trip to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats due to a calf/knee injury.

Jones-Buchanan was hurt in Rhinos’ 38-28 win at Widnes Vikings last Sunday, after coming off the bench for his first appearance following a 12-match lay-off due to a biceps tear.

Jones-Buchanan missed the start of this season due to a calf problem and had a spell on the sidelines mid-way through 2013 because of knee trouble.

Jones-Buchanan will be 33 in August, but McDermott said he is nowhere near the end of his career, despite his injury “turmoil”.

McDermott said: “His run of niggling little injuries continues.

“It looks like he will miss this week and the week after, but I would not write him off. People will start to raise the question – is he coming to the end, with the injuries he has had? Absolutely not. Anybody who does raise that question needs to look at the impact he had at Widnes.

“He was very, very good. He did not look out of place and he is still very, very effective. He is a big part of what we do and he will continue to be.”

McDermott put Jones-Buchanan’s nightmare injury run down to simple bad luck, rather than anything more serious.

He said: “When players get a lot of niggles and pulls normally you link them with somebody who is not training hard enough or not doing the right things off the field.

“In Jonesy’s case, he is the consummate professional. It is frustrating and this is a tough period for him to get through.

“The injury he’s got now is a bit like the one he had earlier in the season, but it’s not as bad and it’s the other knee/calf.

“It is something and nothing, but he has worked hard to get back after a long lay-off and he is hurting.

“I feel for him because I know what type of warrior he is. He rates himself on the type of impact he is having with us and what he is contributing to the team and when he can’t do that it’s frustrating for him and he goes through mental turmoil.”

Better news for Rhinos is the expected return on Sunday of back-rower Mitch Achurch, who has missed three games after suffering knee and ankle damage in the loss at Warrington Wolves last month.

Another forward Chris Clarkson sat out last Sunday’s game because of a persistent Achilles complaint and McDermott said: “He’s out of the (protective) boot now.

“He has been carrying an Achilles problem for a number of weeks and it means he’s not able to push off as much.

“He won’t be risked just yet.”

Hooker Paul Aiton reported no ill-effects following his comeback at Widnes after 13 games out as he underwent a course of medication to treat an illness.

McDermott said there were several “bumps and bruises” from that game, but no other major new injury concerns.

Leeds Rhinos ' Keith Galloway.

Leeds Rhinos’ Keith Galloway stays upbeat despite injury blows