Alex Walmsley injury lay-off confirmed as Paul Wellens provides positive Agnatius Paasi update

Aaron Bower
Alex Walmsley St Helens SWpix

Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

St Helens will be without Alex Walmsley for the next four months after the prop underwent knee surgery this week – but they are set to be boosted by the imminent return of Agnatius Paasi.

Walmsley will miss up to 16 weeks of action after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus, with the Saints opting to send Walmsley in for an operation rather than have him play through the pain. They are confident he will feature again for the club in the latter stages of this season, though.

“Alex has had a repair to meniscus on knee, it’s not a typical four-week thing.. we’re looking a lot longer, that’s four months, which is a very long lay-off but we had a number of things to consider in that,” Saints head coach Paul Wellens said.

“The here and now, if I was being selfish as a coach, we’d have pressed on with Al but we’d have made what’s a worsening knee a lot worse. What’s best for him and his long-term health for his knee is to get surgery. From a coaching perspective I’d love to get him out there this season but we put the players’ health as a priority.”

When asked when Walmsley will be expected to return, Wellens said: “We’re very confident we’ll see him again this year.

Around late-August, early-September, four or five rounds from the end of the season. If we maintain our consistency and put ourselves in a good position in the league, Alex’s return to the team could be a timely arrival.”

But there is better news for the Saints elsewhere, with confirmation Agnatius Paasi is back in full training. Paasi has been absent since last summer’s Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leigh following a serious knee injury – however, he took part in his first full session on Wednesday since that injury.

The Saints are now eyeing up a reserve game later this month as a potential comeback date for the prop.

Wellens said: “Agnatius has this afternoon took part in first 13 versus 13 training session. He’s going to do have to another two to three weeks of that.

“But we’ve a reserve game which we’re looking to get him some game exposure in. I’ve got to pay him huge credit; it’s been a really tough period in his career, he’s kept a smile on his face and his energy high.”

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