Castleford Tigers star faces long-term injury lay-off after being forced off in pre-season clash

Ben Olawumi
Alex Mellor

Alex Mellor in action for Castleford Tigers at Keighley Cougars before being forced off through injury - Alamy

Castleford Tigers back-rower Alex Mellor looks set to be sidelined for up to three months having picked up a serious knee injury in their pre-season win yesterday.

Mellor was forced off just 13 minutes into the Tigers’ clash with Keighley Cougars in what was their first hit-out of 2024 as they look to improve upon last year’s 11th place finish having come out on top in the relegation scrap with Wakefield Trinity.

Craig Lingard’s side would go on to comfortably secure a 54-0 victory against their League 1 opponents in Jake Webster’s ‘farewell game’, but the main talking point of the day would remain Mellor’s injury.

As first reported by Matt Shaw of Yorkshire Live, the 29-year-old – who surpassed 200 career appearances at the back end of last season – wore a knee brace post-match at Cougar Park and required crutches to get around.

Castleford Tigers star Alex Mellor faces long-term injury lay-off after being forced off in pre-season clash against Keighley Cougars

Speaking to journalist Shaw post-match, Tigers head coach Lingard said: “He’s done the MCL on the other knee before, and he said it feels similar to that.

“He’s booked in for a scan tomorrow, and we’ll know more after that. If it’s his MCL, you’re looking at eight to 12 weeks.”

If the prognosis of an MCL injury is correct, 12 weeks – dated from yesterday (January 14) – would take ex-Leeds Rhinos ace Mellor up to April 7.

In addition to their two other pre-season games, at home against London Broncos & Huddersfield Giants respectively, Cas are set to play seven Super League games before then.

Opening their campaign at the Jungle against the reigning Super League champions Wigan Warriors, the Tigers will also play a Challenge Cup fixture prior to Mellor’s expected return date, entering the competition in Round Six over the weekend of March 22-24.

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