England star Mikolaj Oledzki could be back in action for Leeds Rhinos this season – if Richard Agar’s men make the play-offs.
And his fellow prop King Vuniyayawa is ready to play through the pain barrier to bolster the top-six bid, with Leeds facing a crunch home game against Hull KR on Friday.
Both players have been hit by foot injuries, and while Fiji international and former New Zealand Warriors man Vuniyayawa needs an operation, he is likely to put it off until the closed-season, by which time he will have left the club, having turned down a new deal in favour of an offer from Salford Red Devils.
“King will need surgery on the ligament in his foot into his toe,” explained coach Agar, whose side slumped 40-6 at St Helens on Friday, when Vuniyayawa was absent.
“It’s similar to Mikolaj in terms of timescale, a few months, but he’s hoping to put that off so he can play again this season, pain permitting.”
Fullback Jack Walker, centre Konrad Hurrell, who has also rejected a contract extension, halfbacks Luke Gale and Callum McLelland, who has had knee surgery, and loose-forward Liam Sutcliffe remain sidelined.
But Centre Alex Sutcliffe was back after a knee injury to be among the replacements at St Helens, while halfback Rob Lui (head knock) is due back against Hull KR.
Kiwi forward Zane Tetevano completes a three-match ban on Friday.
Leeds suffered their heaviest defeat of the season at Saints, and Agar said: “It was an ugly night, an ugly scoreboard and an ugly performance from us. St Helens were too big, too powerful and too strong.
“They always start massive and you’ve got to weather that storm, but we had no answer to it physically. It was a really difficult first half for us (the Rhinos were 28-6 down by the break).
“The defensive effort was a lot better in the second half, but the game was well and truly gone by then.”
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