Castleford Tigers centre/winger Greg Minikin is out of England Knights’ tour to Papua New Guinea.
Minikin is the second Tigers player to withdraw from this autumn’s internationals in less than 24 hours after injury forced teammate Luke Gale out of the senior England squad.
With Jacob Trueman having been omitted from the Knights squad after suffering a broken hand, Adam Milner is now the only Tigers player set to feature for either England side.
Tigers and England head physio Matt Crowther told Castleford’s website: “Greg Minikin’s decision not to tour with the Knights was difficult, but is based on a few issues.
“Greg suffered ankle and knee injuries which both required surgery during the 2018 season. He did unbelievably well to get back in contention towards the end of the season, but unfortunately picked up a calf injury the day before our semi-final last week.
“Greg had a limited pre-season last year while recovering from shoulder surgery and we all agree that this should be his best pre-season leading into the 2019 season and it’s the best decision for his future career.”
Of Gale, Crowther confirmed: “Luke unfortunately has some cartilage damage from the trauma suffered to his patella during the Wakefield game which kept him out for months.
“Due to the extent of the injury he needs surgery this week which will be beneficial for player, club and country long term.”
Gale admitted he was “gutted” to be out of next week’s Test against France and the three clashes with New Zealand.
“I am so proud to represent my country, but right now I need to do what’s best to get my knee right and give me a good pre-season to ensure I can give my club my best in 2019,” he added.
Warrington Wolves’ Tom Lineham will replace Minikin in the Knights squad and Niall Evalds, of Salford Red Devils, has been drafted in for Wigan Warriors’ Oliver Gildart.
He has moved up to the senior group after Dewsbury-born South Sydney star Sam Burgess dropped out due to injury.