Warriors’ halfback Shaun Johnson has suffered an injury setback, which could be a major disruption to his pre-season programme.
The club is still hopeful Johnson may be fit for the start of the NRL campaign in early March but it is not yet known if he will be available for either of their pre-season trials next month.
The Herald understands Johnson hurt his ankle in training this week.
Early diagnosis has indicated it is a syndesmosis injury, otherwise known as a high ankle sprain.
The recovery time can vary, depending on the severity of the sprain, but is often between six to eight weeks.
Johnson is currently in a moon boot, to restrict weight-bearing on his foot.
It’s a tough blow for the 33-year-old, coming off arguably the best season of his career, where he was a major factor in the Warriors’ run to the preliminary final and was unlucky not to be honoured with the Dally M Medal.
The Warriors have their first pre-season trial in Christchurch on February 18 against the Wests Tigers, though some senior players are likely to be rested from that encounter. Their second trial is against the Redcliffe Dolphins a week later at Go Media Stadium.
Though Johnson is almost irreplaceable, the club do have depth in the halves. Luke Metcalf has fully recovered from the hamstring strain that ended his 2023 season prematurely and has been training well.
Te Maire Martin has also impressed during the pre-season block, while Chanel Harris-Tavita has been in full training mode since mid-November, as part of his return to the sport after a year away to travel and pursue other interests.
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you