Leeds Rhinos: Luckless Stevie Ward is set for yet another spell on sidelines
UNLUCKY 13 Stevie Ward will miss Friday’s derby showdown with Wakefield Trinity, but Leeds Rhinos coach Dave Furner expects full-back Jack Walker to play.
Ward suffered a knee injury early in last week’s 27-22 defeat at St Helens and underwent a scan yesterday.
Rhinos were last night still awaiting the results, but Furner confirmed: “He is definitely not playing this week.
“It is just how long and what needs to be done.
“I think at this stage it might need an operation.”
Furner added: “It’s not good for Stevie.
“He has been tremendous for us and he has been playing in the middle unit which has very good go-forward and very strong defence.
“It gives an opportunity for somebody else to play that role, but I am just hoping for Stevie it all goes well.”
Walker hobbled out of the game at Saints with a hamstring problem.
Furner said: “I think he will play.
“He didn’t train on Monday, the boys had a day off [yesterday], but if he can train [today] that will give us a real good insight to how the injury is.
“At this stage I am expecting he should be able to get through.”
Long-term casualties Jamie Jones-Buchanan (back) and Carl Ablett (ankle) are both “close” to being given the all-clear to return.
But Furner stressed: “It is the first full week they’ve been back on the training park and involved in opposed-type situations.
“While it’s great to have those two back in the mix, what we’ve also got to look at is are they fully ready to go and able to handle it, because what we’ve seen in the first four games is the games are fast.
“We have to make sure they are prepared for that.”
James Donaldson could return from a concussion, but Dom Crosby has “a bit longer” on his recovery from separate knee and ankle operations.
“He has completed two sessions, but not with the team,” Furner said.
Both coaches were due to name their initial 19-man squad this afternoon.