Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell hopes Luke Gale will return for their Grand Final push despite the England scrum-half undergoing emergency appendix surgery yesterday.
Inspirational Gale is favourite for this season’s Man of Steel after already leading the West Yorkshire club to their first-ever League Leaders’ Shield.
However, news the gifted 29-year-old has had to go under the knife will have fans of the title favourites panicked given their crucial Super League semi-final is barely a fortnight away.
Hull FC prop Chris Green is sidelined after a similar operation and has been told he could miss four weeks of action.
That said, the Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric famously returned from having his appendix removed inside just 13 days when playing for Tottenham Hotspur in 2011.
Castleford – who have never won the championship – have their eyes firmly set on a maiden Grand Final on October 7 and could easily switch hooker Paul McShane for Sunday’s trip to Wigan or call up Featherstone Rovers-bound Tom Holmes.
This is a freak situation that could happen to anyone at any time and it’s just really unfortunate it has happened to me now.Castleford Tigers’ Luke Gale
But Powell insisted all involved are hoping for a “speedy recovery back to the field before the end of the season” for Gale who started feeling pain on Monday night.
Having missed just two of Castleford’s 30 games all season, he admitted before the operation: “I’m absolutely gutted to be facing surgery at this crucial point in the season.
“This is a freak situation that could happen to anyone at any time and it’s just really unfortunate it has happened to me now. Rest assured I’ll be doing all I can to aid my recovery with an aim to getting back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Huddersfield Giants centre Leroy Cudjoe is out for up to six months following knee surgery.