England star Oliver Holmes is set to miss the start of next season with Castleford Tigers after undergoing surgery on an injured shoulder.
Holmes recently earned his first senior England cap against France and played in both of the England Knights games against Papua New Guinea, but will not join his clubmates in pre-season this week after a niggly injury he has been carrying for some time has proved to be worse than expected.
Tigers’ head physio Matty Crowther has revealed that Holmes is likely to miss the whole of pre-season.
He explained: “Oliver Holmes has been nursing a shoulder injury for quite some time, which people don’t realise.
“He’s come back from the tour, we’ve had him scanned and it’s come back a bit worse than we thought. He needs some surgery on that and he will be missing three to four months. But we feel as a club that this is the right time to do it and hopefully we can get him back for maybe a month into the season.”
Two of Holmes’ teammates are also facing a race against time to be fit for the start of the Super League season in February after surgery was needed to fix problems.
Crowther said: “Luke Gale needed further surgery, which we hadn’t anticipated.
“He needed a microfracture to his knee, which is going to keep him out for about four to five months from operation.
“He’ll be back near enough for the start of the season or maybe a month in.
“Unfortunately on day one of pre-season Will Maher ruptured his pectoral muscle so he’s going to be out for a while and he needs surgery.
“He’s never missed any games through injury, but it’s just an unfortunate one. He will be back within three months so it will take him the full pre-season.”
Crowther did have some good news for Tigers supporters with utility player Alex Foster back in training and young half-back star Jake Trueman well on the mend from his wrist injury.
He added: “Alex Foster had a serious injury to his foot in the Lisfranc area, which is an absolute nightmare of an injury.
“But he got that fixed and he’s back in full training.
“He’s a tough kid is Alex and he’ll be back fine.
“Jake Trueman just got his pot off and he’s absolutely fine.
“His scaphoid is healing well and we don’t foresee any problems with that whatsoever.
“It’s always good to get back. The lads have been awesome. They’ve come back in with some freshness about them and they’re ready to go.”