LEEDS RHINOS captain Kevin Sinfield is confident he will be be available for next week’s Super League semi-final.
And Sinfield has not ruled himself out of Friday’s crucial final Super-8s fixture at Huddersfield Giants.
There were fears the record-breaking skipper could have played his final game for the club when a dead leg forced him to hobble out of last Thursday’s home defeat by Castleford Tigers.
But the injury has responded well to rest and treatment and Sinfield told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I am much better than I was on Thursday and Friday.
“It is probably too early to say whether I will make Friday, but there is a small chance.
“But definitely the week after I will be fit for the semi-final, barring anything dramatic happening, so I am pretty happy about that.”
Sinfield, who is the third-highest points scorer in rugby league’s 120-year history, will leave the sport at the end of this season to join Rhinos’ rugby union sister club Yorkshire Carnegie.
Rhinos have a maximum of three competitive games – Friday’s match, a play-off semi-final and the Grand Final – left this season and a long injury would have prevented Sinfield turning out again in blue and amber.
He admitted when he was hurt, early in last Thursday’s second half, he did fear his glittering Rhinos career could have come to a premature end.
Said the 35-year-old: “As soon as it happened, it locked up straight away.
“I could not run and I needed to get off before something happened in the game that was down to me not being able to run. Those thoughts [that his Rhinos career could be over] certainly crossed my mind.
“I’ve had something like this before, in a World Club Challenge at Elland Road and I missed the next four games.
“It was the right thing to do to come off, I could not run anyway so I had to, but it is nowhere near as bad as that and it is just a matter of time.”
Sinfield said he will be working closely with Rhinos’ medical staff this week in a bid to be fit for the game in three days’ time.
A Leeds win would see them clinch their first league leaders’ shield since 2009, but – depending on other results – they could drop as low as fourth if they lose.
“I’m in great hands,” he said. “The medical team here are brilliant and I am 99 per cent sure I’ll be right for the play-off game.
“For this week I may be close, but that call will probably be made on Thursday or even Friday morning.”
Half-back/hooker Rob Burrow is hoping to return this week after three games out due to a quad injury suffered in last month’s Challenge Cup win over Hull KR, but forward Stevie Ward (Achilles) could be a doubt.