Leeds Rhinos’ injury crisis has deepened, with young halfback Callum McLelland hit with a hip injury.
McLelland underwent ankle surgery during the off-season and is now dealing with a problematic hip complaint.
The 21-year-old admits he us unsure when he will be fully fit to take to the field again.
“It’s just problems in and around my hip at the moment,” he said.
“I’m back running now, so hopefully it starts improving quickly and I can start competing for places with the season starting. It’s day-by-day.
Some days I wake up and it’s really sore, but on other days it could feel fine.
“It’s just day-by-day really. It’s not ideal but it’s given me that opportunity to get everything else in order – my fitness, my diet, stuff like that. I’m trying to take the positives out of it.
“Pre-season has been a different one, as I’ve been injured for most of it. I’ve not really had this problem before. So it’s a bit different, but enjoyable at the same time.”
It has been a tough pre-season for Leeds with injuries suffered to Luke Gale, Rob Lui, Ash Handley and others.
McLelland is eager for more first-team experiences with the Rhinos after joining the club in 2019 from Scottish rugby union.
The playmaker has made just eight Super League appearances for Leeds, after spending parts of the 2019 and 2020 seasons on loan at Featherstone Rovers.
“I’m always waiting in the wings anyway, but we’ve had quite an unfortunate pre-season with injuries,” he said.
“Predominantly the injuries have been to the back five and in the halfbacks, so it’s not been ideal. But we’ve come to terms with it and people are starting to filter back in, so hopefully we’ll have a really strong squad to compete from Round 1.”
The Castleford Tigers Academy product is enjoying being coached by Sean Long, the former England and St Helens great.
“It’s been great to learn from him,” he said.
“Just the way he’s changed the attack; having someone of that calibre in the room is inspiring.”
McLelland is off-contract at Headingley at the end of 2021 and is out to win a new contract, either with Leeds or at a Super League rival.
The halfback has yet to make any decisions on his future.
“This season is my last chance to try and prove myself to Richard and to Leeds,” he said.
“I just want to be playing and hopefully that will be with Leeds.”
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