Hardaker under the thumb
Winger becomes latest Headingley casualty
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: March 22, 2011 12:22pm
McDermott: Another injury blow
Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott's injury woes have been extended after learning winger Zak Hardaker faces up to two months on the sidelines.
"These things happen but the timing of it is sad"
Brian McDermott Quotes of the week
Hardaker made his debut in Rhinos' 16-30 home defeat to St Helens on Saturday but impressed after marking the occasion with a second-half try.
However, the former Featherstone Rovers performer suffered a broken thumb in an accident at home, and has been ruled out of action for six to eight weeks.
Commenting on the news, McDermott told the Engage Super League side's official website: "We are disappointed for Zak as he was impressive last week against St Helens.
"Unfortunately, as in all walks of life, sometimes these things happen but the timing of it is sad for Zak as he had a chance to stake a claim in the team.
The Rhinos coach is hopeful on the health of a quartet of players ahead of Saturday's trip to Belle Vue.
McDermott added: "We are monitoring the fitness of Lee Smith, Brett Delaney, Ryan Bailey and Kylie Leuluai this week and all four have an outside chance of being involved at Wakefield this weekend.
"It certainly helps that we are playing on Sunday this week as that will give us as long as possible for them to prove their fitness."
As well as Smith, Delaney, Bailey and Leuluai, the Rhinos also currently have Jamie Peacock, Danny McGuire and Ben Jones-Bishop on the long-term casualty list.