INJURED LEEDS Rhinos winger Tom Briscoe hopes to be back in action at Easter.
Briscoe has missed three games since suffering ankle damage in Rhinos’ First Utility Super League round two defeat at Widnes Vikings on February 14.
Rhinos’ medical staff are hopeful he could feature in at least one of the Easter derbies, at Castleford Tigers on March 24 or home to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats four days later.
The injury came 11 months after Briscoe suffered a long-term shoulder problem and was a huge setback to the player and team, but he can now see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I am getting there,” said Briscoe, who joined Rhinos from Hull ahead of the 2014 season and has scored 28 tries in 50 appearances.
“I was in this situation last year, but thankfully this time it is not quite so long-term.
“There’s no operation needed, so that was a bonus. I am three weeks into it now and hopefully I’ll be back before too long.”
Briscoe’s injury last year came in round five and he admitted it feels like lightning has struck twice.
“It’s a similar start to the season,” he said. “Obviously after all the hard work you put in in pre-season to get injured two weeks into the season is pretty devastating.
“It is a massive setback not being able to train and do skills. It is pretty disruptive, but I have been there before so I know what it takes to get back and what I need to do to get myself right.”
Briscoe added: “I am not running yet, but I got the [protective] boot off last week, so I am just doing a bit of treatment with the physio staff in the gym.
“Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I can get back running and then be ready to go.”
Rhinos lost their opening four competitive games this year, but broke their duck against Huddersfield last Friday. The Featherstone Lions product admitted it is tough having to sit and watch when his team-mates are struggling.
“It is frustrating watching anyway,” he said. “Last year it was the other way – we were winning and I wanted to be part of that.
“I think being out, whatever way you look at it, is frustrating and disappointing. With the fact we’ve not had the best start, obviously you’re thinking you could try and improve it, but it is a team game.
“No one man is going to come back and solve all our problems. We have got to work hard through the week and make sure we put the things that went wrong at the weekend right for the following performance.”
Ash Handley, who stepped in on the right-wing after Briscoe was ruled out, is also on the casualty list after taking a bang to a kneecap during last week’s game.
Briscoe said: “I think they [Rhinos’ coaching staff] will be planning for whoever’s going to be playing there. A lot of hard work will be done and if there is any need for people to play out of position they will be getting enough training in order to be successful at the weekend.”
Second-row Carl Ablett, who suffered a similar injury in the same game, is also hoping to be available by Easter, along with Danny McGuire (knee). Another ankle injury victim from the Widnes game, Ashton Golding, is now out of a boot, but around two weeks behind the others.
Ash Handley, who stepped in on the right-wing after Briscoe was ruled out, took a bang to a kneecap against Huddersfield, but has been included in the 19-man squad for tomorrow.
Joel Moon and Brett Delaney both suffered a hamstring injury last week and are ruled out of the trip to Wigan, but Beau Falloon is in contention to make his debut after recovering from a broken toe.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (quad) could feature for the first time since July, Mitch Achurch is in the squad after missing last week’s game due to illness and Mitch Garbutt will return after completing a two-game ban.