VETERAN centre Keith Senior is confident he will play next season – but that may not be for Leeds Rhinos.
Senior underwent major knee surgery a week ago, after being hurt in Rhinos’ Carnegie Challenge Cup win over Harlequins on May 20.
It was initially feared the injury could be career-ending, but the 35-year-old’s recovery is already ahead of schedule and he confirmed he is planning to play on.
Talks with Rhinos over a new deal have begun, but other clubs are also showing an interest.
Senior declined to comment on his contract situation, but confirmed: “I am going to play on next season, definitely.
“I have still got a lot to offer. I will be playing on, but as to where, that is something that needs to be sorted out.”
Senior is already walking unaided following the operation to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.
“The operation went well,” he said. “Straight after the operation, when the surgeon brought me round, he said it wasn’t as bad as they first feared.
“He didn’t need to microfracture, which was the biggest worry. If he’d done that I would have been on crutches for anything up to six weeks.
“That would really have slowed the re-hab down. He just did the standard anterior cruciate ligament operation and removed a bit of cartilage, so it went a lot better than expected.”
Senior was back at Rhinos’ Kirkstall training base the day after surgery.
He is now having regular treatment and doing re-hab work in the gym.
“I was into muscle-building exercises straight away,” he said. “That’s a lot better than being on crutches for six weeks.
“I am ahead of where I thought I would be, but I am not setting any targets for when I’ll be back playing.
“I’ll just see how it goes. I have to make sure I’m right and that I come back when I’m ready.
“If my re-hab goes well, you never say never, but I’ve not set a target of coming back this season.
“I need to make sure the leg is 100 per cent before I play again.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos coach Brian McDermott was today due to name his initial 19-man squad for Friday’s game at Crusaders.
Rhinos came through last Sunday’s 44-14 win over Hull KR with no significant new injuries, though forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan suffered a facial wound which required stitches in his chin, lip and cheek.
Meanwhile, Leeds United’s Elland Road is set to stage the final of this year’s Four Nations.
Dates have yet to be confirmed, but the decider is provisionally scheduled to be played on Saturday, November 19.
The tournament will include a double-header at Wembley on November 5, with England playing Australia and Wales taking on New Zealand.
England will open the competition away to Wales the previous week and will play the Kiwis at Hull on November 12.
Meanwhile, Bradford Bulls chairman Peter Hood has played down reports of a takeover bid by former Wakefield Wildcats suitor Steve Parkin.