Leeds Rhinos: Garbutt grounded until June after knee surgery

Sidelined Leeds Rhinos pack stars Anthony Mullally, Nathaniel Peteru and Mitch Garbutt pictured mingling with fans at Wakefield last weekend. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Sidelined Leeds Rhinos pack stars Anthony Mullally, Nathaniel Peteru and Mitch Garbutt pictured mingling with fans at Wakefield last weekend. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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SIDELINED PROP Mitch Garbutt has spoken of his frustration” after being ruled out of Leeds Rhinos action until at least June.

Garbutt has played only twice this season. He suffered a dead leg in a pre-season fixture at Featherstone which kept him out of action for three matches, including the World Club Challenge at his former club Melbourne Storm and was hurt again in his second comeback game, at home to Hull.

Initially hopeful his knee injury would settle down, he has now undergone surgery and is facing 10 weeks off the field.

“I went under the knife last week,” Garbutt confirmed. “I was really struggling with a knee injury I picked up against Hull. We tried to manage it as best we could, but I had a bit of meniscus stuff and some wear and tear. I had to get a microfracture repair and take out some cartledge so hopefully that fixes it all up.

“When I am out there I think I am performing well, but unfortunately I’ve not been out there as much as I’d like. That’s the game, isn’t it.”

The injury is similar to the one suffered by Rhinos centre Jimmy Keinhorst in February. He is now available for selection, but has yet to be recalled to the side.

Of his likely return date, Garbutt added: “They’ve put about 10 weeks on the injury, from the op’, so it’s a while yet. It can all add up, but the good thing about being over here is it’s such a long season there’s still a heap of games left.

“Obviously I will do everything I can to get back quicker than that, but I’ll just take it week by week.”

Adam Cuthbertson (hand) and Nathaniel Peteru (biceps) have both been sidelined since February and another front-rower, Anthony Mullally, did not play against Wakefield Trinity three days ago after missing the Easter Monday win over Salford due to concussion, though he was available for selection.

Prop Mikolaj Oledzki made his fifth appearance of the campaign at Wakefield and Garbutt said: “We are performing well at the minute and I have been really impressed with how Cameron Smith and Mikolaj have fitted into the team. The more minutes they get, the better they are going to be. They are performing really well and showing they deserve to be out there.”

Rhinos have high hopes for 19-year-old Oledzki, who – like Smith – is an England academy player. Garbutt said: “He has got a big future and the thing is, he is playing now. When you are young you just need to get out there and play.

“It’s not always about how you perform, it’s about how many games you get. He is getting the confidence that he can tackle the big-name players over here and perform well against them.

“That’s what he has done and the more time he gets, the better he’s going to be for us.”

Coach Brian McDermott will today confirm his 19-man squad for Friday’s visit of Wigan Warriors.

Cuthbertson is close to returning from the broken hand he suffered in the World Club Challenge.

Peteru, who tore a biceps muscle on his debut in the Betfred Super League round-one win over Warrington Wolves, expects to be in contention for one of the next three games.

Full-back Jack Walker has missed two games due to an ankle injury, but is hopeful of being available on Friday, or for the following Thursday’s trip to Hull.

Rhinos hope to have Joel Moon back from illness this week, but Liam Sutcliffe had a foot in a protective boot the day after returning from a foot injury in Sunday’s win at Wakefield Trinity.