STEVIE WARD is set to miss out for Leeds Rhinos in Saturday's Super League Grand Final - but has not been ruled out of contention for the World Cup.
The back-row forward was taken to hospital after Friday's semi-final win over Hull with a dislocated shoulder and was seeing a specialist in Manchester on Monday to discover the extent of the injury.
However, Leeds coach Brian McDermott confirmed at a Grand Final joint press conference at Old Trafford that Ward will play no part in Saturday's clash with Castleford Tigers.
"They couldn't get the shoulder back in on Friday so they had to keep him in and do it with gas and air," McDermott said.
"Obviously he's in a bad way but he turned up this morning and I don't think long-term it will be too bad."
Ward, who turns 24 in November, is one of three Leeds players in the 27-strong England-based elite training squad that has spent all season preparing for the World Cup.
England coach Wayne Bennett is due to announce his 24-man squad next Monday and Ward will be keeping his fingers crossed that his injury jinx has not struck again.
Ward, who is seen a one of the contenders to take over as Leeds captain when Danny McGuire leaves at the end of the season, missed the 2015 Grand Final as well as the Test series with New Zealand after rupturing knee ligaments in the final game of the regular season.
He recovered in time to play the last four matches of the 2016 season and was called into the England squad for the Four Nations Series as a late injury replacement for club-mate Brett Ferres but in the end was not used.
With second rower Brett Delaney also ruled out of Saturday's game with a hamstring injury, McDermott is set to turn to Jimmy Keinhorst, who missed three months of the season with a hand injury, to plug the gap.
McDermott says he has yet to decide on the full-back role between Ash Golding, who played in the final match of the regular season, and 18-year-old Jack Walker, who got the nod for the semi-final.
"It's a big decision," McDermott said. "I'll make it when we've got past a couple of training sessions."
Castleford are likely to be at full strength, with second rower Oliver Holmes set to return for the final after missing their semi-final victory over St Helens with a groin injury.
"He's trained today," Tigers coach Daryl Powell told the press conference. "We'll see how he goes on through the week. We've another couple of training sessions but he should be in contention."
The 20th Grand Final is set for a 74,000 sell-out for the first all-Yorkshire title decider for 12 years.
"We've sold more than 60,000 tickets already and hopefully by Thursday we'll be able to announce a sell-out," said Super League managing director Roger Draper. "It has all the makings of an absolute classic."