Injury setback for Wigan Warriors prop
Wigan look like being without Ben Flower until the Super League play-offs after the big prop went under the knife for clean-up surgery on his knee.
The Welshman only returned at the weekend against Hull KR after a lengthy lay-off with a back problem.
And coach Adrian Lam is retaining a pragmatic approach after a campaign dogged by injuries across the board.
“I got the news, and I didn’t even flinch – because I’m used to it by now,” Lam mused.
“You’re just thinking: ‘Here we go again’, and that’s the way it’s gone.
“It’s not the same injury – it was his back before, this time it’s his meniscus, his knee.
“He’s gone into clean up a bit of cartilage, and hopefully that’ll be right.
“It is what it is. If we can just get to the semis in one piece, we feel we might be okay.”
Winger Joe Burgess – who scored his 100th try for the club last weekend – is also a major concern ahead of Friday night’s visit of second-placed Warrington with a pectoral problem.
“Joe’s doubtful,” admitted Lam. “We’ll give him until the captain’s run to see if he’s okay.”
That could mean a first start in cherry and white for Bevan French, who dipped his toe into the water off the bench against Hull KR.
Lam is expecting a tough test from a Warrington side who have the small matter of a Challenge Cup final against St Helens to come on Saturday week.
“We feel they’re going to play their strongest team,” Lam added. “And we hope they do to be fair. I don’t see them coming with a weakened team at all.”