Leeds Rhinos captain Luke Gale faces month on sidelines with fractured thumb - two other senior players ruled out of Challenge Cup tie at St Helens
Captain Luke Gale is facing around a month on the sidelines after Leeds Rhinos' shocking injury crisis took worsened ahead of their Betfred Challenge Cup tie at St Helens on Saturday.
Gale suffered a fractured thumb in last week's loss to Castleford Tigers and Liam Sutcliffe (knee) and Bodene Thompson (ribs) were also ruled out of the game at Saints.
That took the number of players unavailable to 12 and forwards Cameron Smith and Rhyse Martin were named as Leeds' starting half-backs.
Rhinos were already without Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Konrad Hurrell (calf), Ash Handley (knee), Rob Lui (quad), Richie Myler (hamstring), Tom Holroyd (leg) and Callum McLelland (groin) for today’s tie, plus last month's signing Kyle Eastmond who is not yet ready for selection.
Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Gale said: “I’m massively disappointed.
“It was about half an hour into the game, in a tackle and it wasn’t even noticed at the time.
“When there was a stoppage in play I just asked to get my thumb strapped.
“It was hard to grip and pass the ball, but I got through the game and then it was black and blue the next morning.”
Ironically, the tackle involved Gale’s friend and former teammate Paul McShane.
“I have looked at the tackle, but you can’t really see much,” he added.
“It is just a bit of contact with Paul McShane.
“I actually texted him after the game and said my thumbs in bits’.
“He said he couldn’t remember, so it’s just one of those things.”
Gale missed most of pre-season after tearing a pectoral muscle in Rhinos’ first training session, in January.
He said: “It has turned into a bit of a nightmare.
“I played the first game and I think I’d trained four times.
“To do this in game two, it is an absolute nightmare.”
But he pledged: “I will be back in no time and I can work on the pec’ and get the strength up in that.
“It is a thumb, I’ll be able to keep up my fitness and it’ll just be no catching or passing.
“It’s far from ideal, but it is what it is - it’s a tough game and you have to take the highs and lows.”
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