Dom Manfredi is braced for another long spell on the sidelines.
Shaun Wane confirmed the luckless winger is “way off” making his return to full-fitness.
Manfredi is battling a troubling knee injury which has kept him out of the first-team frame for the past 15 months.
Wane said it was too soon to put a likely recovery timeframe on his recovery but confirmed it is long-term.
“I genuinely don’t know (a likely return date),” he said. “We need to test certain things, months down the line – it’s going to be a big job. He’s way off.”
Manfredi, 24, initially suffered a serious knee injury playing at Castleford in summer 2016.
He made a comeback in the reserves last August amid hopes he could push for a first-team recall.
But he suffered a fresh setback with the troublesome joint and didn’t finish the game, and hasn’t played at any level since.
Wane says the academy-product is being given a lot of support as he continues his long recovery.
“He knows what he needs to do, our welfare officer Steve (McCormack) has been in touch with him and he’s never isolated, we make sure we look after him,” added Wane.
Manfredi had done enough during the 2016 campaign to warrant selection in the Super League Dream Team.
“As a team we make sure he’s part of the squad, because it must be difficult for him,” said prop Ben Flower, whose own campaign was ended with an injury at Castleford earlier this year.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself when there’s someone like Dom and you see what he’s going through.”
In Manfredi’s absence last season, young wingers Tom Davies and Liam Marshall broke through into the team.
With Joe Burgess also in the squad, Wane is not short of wing cover, even accounting for Lewis Tierney’s move to Catalans.
On a brighter note on the injury front, all the other players who were sidelined at the end of the season – Flower, Morgan Escare and Jake Shorrocks – are expected to be fit for the start of the 2018 season.