PAUL Prescott will be sidelined for another two to three weeks after suffering a setback with his ankle injury.
The prop – a regular in Shaun Wane’s starting side this term – had hoped to face Leeds last Saturday in the Challenge Cup semi-final, but aggravated the problem during training.
He has had a fresh scan and the results have revealed ligament damage.
But coach Wane says he does not need an operation and is hopeful he will be fit to return for the home clash against Hull FC on August 3 or – at the worst – for the following week’s trip to Warrington.
Prescott’s last match was against Widnes last month.
His setback emerged as Wane revealed young full-back Matt Russell has returned to Wigan following a loan spell at Hull FC.
The 19-year-old has suffered a wrist problem which was due to be scanned yesterday.
But he had also seen his first-team chances become limited at the KC Stadium following their recruitment of Australian Ryan McGoldrick from Castleford, and Wane admits the decision to recall him was due to both factors.
On the plus side with injuries, Stuart Fielden has responded well to full training this week. Wane had previously said the prop – out since February last year – would not be rushed back.
But having seen him train early this week, the coach reckons he may be primed for an Under-20s game within two or three weeks.
And of the other long-term absentees, Wane predicted Australian winger Pat Richards would be “about four weeks, something like that” – with Kiwi scrum-half Thomas Leuluai and prop Gil Dudson both sidelines for another six or seven weeks.
Meanwhile, Wane has confirmed Matty Smith will start at scrum-half against London Broncos on Saturday and is considering giving Iain Thornley another chance, following his debut at Wakefield.