Injury timeframes confirmed for Leeds pair with forward facing a month on sidelines

Josh McAllister
Sam Lisone, Blake Austin, Leeds Rhinos

PHOTO: Nigel French/PA Wire/PA Images & James Heaton/News Images.

Leeds will be without both Blake Austin and Sam Lisone for a couple of weeks due to calf injuries, head coach Rohan Smith has confirmed. 

Austin, 32, was a late withdrawal ahead of the side’s Challenge Cup sixth round tie with Wigan, replaced by Morgan Gannon in the halves for the home fixture.

Prop forward Lisone, 29, featured in the 18-14 defeat from the bench at Headingley Stadium but will miss up to a month of action due to the injury.

The ex-Gold Coast Titans man has featured in all but one Super League games for the Rhinos so far this year in his debut campaign in England.

“They’re both calf injuries. Blake Austin is probably a couple of weeks away,” Smith confirmed.

“Sam Lisone is probably a month away.”

Outside-back Ash Handley was also a late withdrawal ahead of Saturday’s televised Challenge Cup clash due to illness, with Liam Tindall and Derrell Olpherts named on the wings.

The England international however has been named in Leeds’ 21-man squad and could face St Helens this Friday, live on Sky Sports.

“It’s a boost,” Smith added on Handley.

“It was unfortunate timing of the illness last week. If it had been a bit earlier in the week, he may have recovered in time.

“But he was in no state to compete and obviously that was a hard-fought game in hot conditions for this time of the year.”

Rohan Smith on James Bentley

Meanwhile, back-rower James Bentley continues with his return to play protocols after failing his head injury assessment in the Super League 40-18 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium in Round 12. 

“He’s still working on the return to play from the concussion that he had,” Smith confirmed. 

“It’s sort of complicated matters there as well, he’s had his wisdom teeth removed which has become a slower than expected recovery.

“But he’s still working through the protocols to return to availability.”

Full-back Luke Hooley and young forward Leon Ruan have been named in Smith’s 21-man squad, with the Leeds coach admitting the latter is not far away from making his debut. 

The 20-year-old completed the off-season switch from Doncaster on a three-year contract, but is yet to feature for the first team.

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