Castleford Tigers are optimistic that the projected three-month layoff for England half-back Luke Gale could yet be a worst case scenario – and he could return sooner.
The Tigers star went under the knife on Wednesday for surgery on a fractured patella suffered against Wakefield last Friday, when he collided with Trinity prop Pauli Pauli.
Initial reports suggest a three-month absence for Gale – but Tigers assistant Ryan Sheridan is hopeful that with the club’s physio team, plus Gale, working as hard as possible, it could be earlier than that.
He said: “It’s looking like something like three months but we’ve got a good physio in Matt Crowther, and Galey will be meticulous in his rehab and getting himself right as he’ll want to be back as soon as possible.
“Fingers crossed it’s sooner, rather than later.”
Sheridan admits it is a ‘big blow’ for both player – who will now miss England’s game with New Zealand in Denver next month – and club, but he is confident the Tigers have the strength in depth to survive the setback.
“It’s a big blow. He took a whack in the Waye game and played for most of the half but had to come off.
“Obviously it’s devastating news for him and for us, but we’re a good team and we have players who can fill in and accommodate until he gets back fit.
“It is a massive blow as he is a key player for us, an international half-back.
“We might have to play a little bit different but we’ll spread the responsibility across the team and it’s a good challenge for us as a team and as a staff to put a plan together.”