Devastating blow as Wigan Warriors' Dom Manfredi faces another long injury lay-off
Dom Manfredi has been ruled out for the season with another knee injury - after just 10 games since returning from a two year lay-off.
He suffered a season-ending injury having ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament at Castleford Tigers on Friday night.
Wigan's executive director, Kris Radlinski: “Dom visited a specialist yesterday who confirmed our worst fears and the injury that he sustained at Castleford Tigers would end his season. This is a devastating blow for Dom and the team.
“Dom only returned from surgery on his other knee towards the end of last year and had the fairy-tale ending at Old Trafford. Now he faces the same journey of rehabilitation. Our focus is on helping him through this difficult time.”
The injury is a cruel setback for the winger.
His career was derailed by successive knee injuries which sidelined him for two years, before making a sensational return in the build-up to last year's Grand Final.
In a cruel twist, Manfredi suffered the fresh injury at the same venue, Castleford, where he suffered his initial injury in 2016 - a year which saw him get named in the Super League DreamTeam.
Back then, he needed a knee reconstruction and when he made his comeback in a reserve game one year later, he suffered a recurrence of the injury - and another 12 months on the sidelines.
During that time, Manfredi admitted he was close to hanging up his boots, and even began training as a HGV driver.
But he persevered and made a return to Shaun Wane's side during the Super-8s and then, incredibly, went on to score two tries in Wigan's Grand Final triumph against Warrington - only his sixth game back.
Weeks later, Wigan rewarded him with a new three-year deal which runs until the end of 2021.
He missed the start of this season with a slight knee problem but soon settled back into the side and had been in good form, earning a place in the England Knights set-up, until limping off in Friday's 38-28 loss at the Tigers - it was not clear how he suffered the problem.
After the game, Adrian Lam said they suspected it was a medial ligament injury and hoped it wasn't serious. But scans yesterday have confirmed their worst fears.
While Wigan support Manfredi, coach Lam will need to find a replacement for Friday's trip to Wakefield.
Tom Davies appears the most likely candidate - he did a sterling job in Manfredi's absence last year and is fit.
Morgan Escare, the French full-back, is another option and Liam Marshall will soon be back in the frame as he nears recovery from a knee problem.
Halfback Jarrod Sammut (knee) and forward Joe Greenwood (head knock) also suffered injuries last Friday.
Sammut's problem is not thought to be as serious while Greenwood will need to pass concussion protocols, and is a major doubt for Friday. Lam may provide updates at his weekly press conference later today.