VETERAN FORWARD Jamie Jones-Buchanan is taking things week by week after returning from an “unprecedented” injury.
The 34-year-old played his first game since last July when Leeds Rhinos were beaten 28-6 at Wigan Warriors four days ago.
Jones-Buchanan said he is aware fans have been questioning whether he could return from the latest in a series of painful setbacks, but insisted he is determined to make a positive impact for Rhinos now he is back on the field.
“A lot of people wondered whether I would get back,” the six-time Grand Final winner admitted.
“It is quite unprecedented, tearing your quad off your knee.
“It is quite a catastrophic injury, all four quad muscles came off my knee.
“Genuinely, the surgeon said he usually only does one of those a year and they are on 65 year olds.
“The only person I know who’s done it is the chaplain of Yorkshire cricket – and he’s 70!
“It is quite an unheard of thing and in terms of physio and re-hab they weren’t sure where we were, but I have come back.
“I want to thank the club, the fans and the players and all the medical staff for giving me every opportunity and for all their support getting me back.”
Jones-Buchanan got through last Friday’s game unscathed after coming off the substitutes’ bench in the first half.
He was one of Rhinos’ better players in a disappointing team performance, but admitted he is unsure how long it will take to regain his best form.
“I don’t know how it is going to pan out,” he said.
“I am just going to throw myself at it and do my best. I will take it week by week.”
The loss at Wigan was Rhinos’ fourth in five First Utility Super League rounds and they have slipped to 10th – third from bottom – in the table.
It is Rhinos’ poorest start to a campaign since 2000, but Jones-Buchanan believes things will turn around.
“The obvious thing people are saying is we are missing certain players from years gone by,” he reflected.
“But I was there right at the beginning, when a lot of those players were young. There were probably five or six years before we did anything special, even with that group of men we are missing at the minute.
“I don’t think it will be that long before it comes round and this group gels and performs at their peak.
“There is a lot of work to do, things aren’t gelling at the minute, but we understand why that is.
“There’s a lot of variables I could list, getting flooded out of our base, for example.
“We have got a group of young players coming in and having a baptism of fire and we do have injuries.
“They are not excuses, there’s no reason why we can’t go to Wigan and work hard and put in a good performance even with those variables.
“We weren’t good enough, but don’t write us off yet.”