Hull hooker Aaron Heremaia will have to wait until at least July to make his debut, after having an operation on a troublesome neck injury last week.
Heremaia, 29, signed for the Airlie Birds from New Zealand Warriors in the close season but hasn’t played a competitive game for the club, after damaging a disc in his neck during the pre-season friendly against Hull KR in January.
The former Leigh man admits it has been a frustrating time, but is looking forward to helping Peter Gentle’s side push towards the play-offs.
He told the club’s official website: “I’m hoping to be back by July and that would still leave me with a decent chunk of the season left.
“The operation went really well and I should be able to start my rehab in about four weeks. If everything goes to plan, I’ll still have quite a few games of the season left plus hopefully the play-offs, so the thought of that is keeping me going.
“I’ve been really frustrated sitting in the stands each week as it’s a new feeling for me. I’ve not missed a game for the past five years and I think this injury is forcing me to make up for that.”
Hull, despite the absence of Heremaia and a raft of other injuries, are having an impressive season so far, with last weekend’s defeat to Huddersfield their first loss since the 24-22 defeat at Salford in February.
They have a chance to make amends for the Easter defeat against Huddersfield when they host the Giants at the KC Stadium in the fourth round of the Challenge Cup on Sunday.