GUTTED LEEDS Rhinos forward Andy Yates has summed up his season in one word: “nightmare”.
Yates is facing three months on the sidelines after suffering a serious arm injury, in his first game back after half a year out with a shattered Achilles.
The former St Helens academy front-rower signed for Rhinos from Hunslet Hawks in June 2013, but has yet to play a game for the club.
Yates battled back from his Achilles injury and returned to action for Hunslet on dual-registration in last month’s Kingstone Press Championship One win over Hemel Stags, only to be rocked by his second fitness blow.
“I have ruptured my biceps tendon,” Yates, 24, confirmed. “I had an operation last week and I’ll be in a sling for another week.
“It is really frustrating. In my first game back I didn’t expect to do that.
“All my career I have never been injured, it is not like I get injured all the time.
“This year has been a nightmare, but I have just got to deal with it and move on to next year.”
Yates impressed Rhinos’ staff with the way he trained before his Achilles was ruptured early in pre-season last November.
He was also praised by boss Brian McDermott for the manner in which he battled back from that reverse, but admitted he is frustrated at being unable to show what he can do in a game.
“It’s hard,” he said. “This injury is not as bad as the first one, but it is frustrating because all year I have only been watching.
“I want to get out and play, but I can’t let my head go down. I have got to keep focused.
“I am back in now doing bits and pieces, on the bike and leg weights and that gives me something to focus on, which helps.”
Yates is on a two-year contract and praised the club for their support.
“When I asked the physios for the results of my scan, they didn’t tell me anything,” he revealed.
“Mac wanted to tell me face to face, which was good of him.
“He has been really supportive and all the lads and the whole club have been.
“They are all behind me, which is good and I could not be in a better place to be looked after, after something like this, but has been a terrible start to my career at Leeds.”
Yates could play this year if his recovery goes according to play, but admitted he is now looking ahead to 2015.
“Twelve weeks takes me up to the play-offs,” he said.
“But I am just focused on trying to get fit. I don’t want to get my hopes up.
“I am just going to try and get fit, get ready for pre-season and hopefully have a good year – and play a bit of rugby.”