Doncaster RLFC’s League One promotion hopes have suffered a blow with the news that leading try-scorer Kieran Cross will be out longer than expected.
Cross dislocated his shoulder during the club’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat at Leeds Rhinos a fortnight ago and could be out until the end of June.
“Tests have shown a slight ligament tear in his shoulder and he will be out for a minimum of six to eight weeks,” said head coach Gary Thornton ahead of Sunday’s home game against London Skolars.
“Happily he’s been told he doesn’t need surgery and that the injury can be rehabbed once it’s healed. It’s still very sore and it will be two to three weeks before he can do any strengthening exercises.
“The lad’s a bit down. I don’t think he thought the injury was as bad as it has proved and he was expecting to be back within four weeks. But as I say, it is looking to be longer than that.
“Although we’ve got cover at half-back, you don’t want to be losing your best players for what could be up to two months – though hopefully he’ll be back sooner.
“Kieran has been one of our best players consistently this season and is already in double figures in terms of tries scored, so he’s going to be a big loss.
“He’s got that individual spark and a good show-and-go and he’s got surprising pace – particularly over the first five or ten metres - and he’s been catching teams out.”
The utility man’s injury has served to take some of the gloss off a five-try showing in the second half at Headingley – a performance which brought warm praise from Leeds coach Brian McDermott.
“Brian didn’t need to say what he did, both to me and the media, but it was most appreciated by both players and coaching staff,” he said.
“I’d never met him before but we had five-ten minute chat before the game and he shook my hand after the game and congratulated me on a great second half performance and wished us all the best for the season.
“When someone of Brian’s stature in the game says those sorts of things about your performance you’ve got to take heart from it.”