Leeds Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins will miss the rest of the season after scans confirmed he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury at Magic Weekend.
Watkins stayed down clutching his knee after being tackled in the second half of the loss to Castleford and had to be substituted following medical attention.
Despite being able to walk from the field, the injury is serious enough to rule the right-sided centre out of action for 8 months.
The news comes as a huge blow for both Leeds and England, as Watkins will not only miss the rest of his club’s defence of their Super League title and Challenge Cup campaign but also England’s mid-season international test with New Zealand in Denver and the three game series with the Kiwis this autumn.
The 27-year old has played in all 16 of Leeds’ games so far this season and is their second top try scorer with 7, while he has also kicked 37 goals.
On his injury, Watkins told therhinos.co.uk: “I’m deeply disappointed to be missing the rest of the season. However, I will be doing everything possible to make sure I return ready to kick on from this injury.
I know I am in the best possible hands with our medical team at the Rhinos and, in the meantime, I will be backing the boys from the sidelines and giving them every support for the rest of the campaign.”
Should his recovery go to plan, Watkins will return in time to take part in Leeds’ pre-season programme.