Leeds Rhinos' Bodene Thompson set to return in Super League clash with Salford Red Devils
Leeds Rhinos' Bodene Thompson is looking forward to playing pain-free.
The New Zealand-born forward has been sidelined since the one-point defeat at Huddersfield Giants on May 2, but missed only three games because of Rhinos’ month-long Covid layoff.
Leeds will finally return to action when they visit Salford Red Devils on Sunday and he confirmed: “I am available for selection.”
The hip injury which kept Thompson out of Rhinos’ past three matches was the latest in a series of “niggles” - including a fractured rib - which have hampered him since Betfred Super League round two.
He said: “I was injured after the Huddersfield game, but I am back fit now.
“I had some fluid in my hip and it took a good three or four weeks to get rid of it.
“It was a weird injury, not a major one, but just one of those that takes time to heal.
“It’s all good now.”
Thompson admitted his time on the casualty list - which meant he missed wins over Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers as well as a loss to Hull - was “frustrating”.
But he stressed: “I’ve looked at it in a positive way.
“I had a few niggling little injuries, I hurt my ankle the week before and I was playing with a fractured rib as well, which nobody knew about.
“I had three injuries I needed to get on top of so I really took the time to get on top of those and make sure I am ready to go.
“That’s all done, so the last three weeks has actually been a blessing, just to get the body right for the rest of the year.”
Thompson revealed his rib was fractured in Rhinos’ derby against Tigers on April 2.
“We didn’t know about it until I got scanned,” he said.
“I was going to play the week after, but they pulled me out of that game.
“I played the next week with it and it’s just one of those things.
“You can play with it, but I was just struggling to breathe because it was one of my floating ribs, the ones down low and behind your back.
“There was pressure on it near the lung.
“In the end, I picked up too many injuries so they decided to give me a rest and then all this happened, so I have been using the time to get everything right and get myself back up to 100 per cent.
“It will be nice to run without holding my breath.
“I’ve done some contact and wrestling and everything was fine, I didn’t even think about it.
“That’s a good thing, I just have to get the work in on the training paddock and make sure I am ready to go.”
Rhinos were due to play at Salford tomorrow, but the game was put back two days to enable them to raise a team.
With players backing up from Friday’s international, plus others missing due to Covid and injuries, Thompson admitted they will have to dig deep.
He said: “It’s going to be a big ask, but we have got to step up and make sure we put our best foot forward.”
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