BATTERED VETERAN Jamie Jones-Buchanan is taking inspiration from a race of science fiction villains as he battles to overcome a massive pre-season setback.
Jones-Buchanan is set to miss the opening month of Leeds Rhinos’ First Utility Super League campaign after being injured last week.
The back-rower suffered a torn calf in training ahead of Ryan Bailey’s testimonial game against London Broncos, which was due to mark his comeback from off-season knee surgery.
The 32-year-old – who last month signed a new three-year contract – was restricted to 24 appearances last term and admitted his latest lay-off is “frustrating”.
But he said: “I am like the Borg in Star Trek – I will adapt and be better next time.”
Jones-Buchanan has travelled to Rhinos’ training camp in Portugal and he added: “I am all right, it is not too bad – I am mobile. It is a calf tear, but I’ve been thinking about people who’ve done it before, like Weller Hauraki a couple of years ago.
“He came back early and did it again, so I want to make sure I get it right. I will go through the process the physio wants me to go through. It is frustrating, because I was dying to play in Bails’ testimonial. I just want to play. I have been training well and I’m feeling in good nick physically.
“I don’t believe in luck, I am a man of faith and I believe things happen for a reason. I am sure there is a legitimate reason for this happening now.”
Jones-Buchanan made his debut in 1999 and is preparing for his 16th Super League season. “All I can do is get on with it and do my best to get back,” he said.
“I am aiming to be back as soon as I can be ready.
“I have been training fully with the team for the last few weeks with no mishaps, so I am hoping this is just a freak thing.
“I have never had a calf problem before, but it is the same leg as the (previously injured) knee, so maybe the calf has been over-working a bit.
“These things happen – it’s better now than later in the year.”
Jones-Buchanan is the third forward already ruled out of Rhinos’ first competitive game of the year, away to Hull KR on Sunday, February 16.
Andy Yates – signed from Hunslet Hawks – suffered an Achilles tear in training and fellow front-rower Ian Kirke is recovering from surgery to repair a damaged rib.
Mitch Achurch – who can play prop or second-row – twisted a knee in last Friday’s win over London, but is still in contention for the trip to East
Yorkshire and Stevie Ward is close to making his comeback from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Rhinos’ victory at Hull KR last April.
Attending the camp will boost Jones-Buchanan’s chances of slotting straight into the team when he is passed fit.
“I am in all the meetings and seeing all the sessions,” he added.
“I am basically with the physio all day long.”
The draw for the second round of the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup will take place on BBC Radio Manchester tonight between 6-7pm.
HUNSLET Hawks have continued to strengthen for an assault on the Championship 1 title with the addition of 27-year-old full back/winger Andy Ballard from Swinton.