5th July 2018, 20:12 | Castleford

Gale closing in on return

Gale closing in on return

Castleford Tigers expect to have England scrum-half Luke Gale back for the start of the Super 8s in the second week of August.

The reigning Man of Steel has been sidelined with a fractured kneecap since April but started running again on Thursday and Castleford and England physiotherapist Matty Crowther says he should be ready to return in about five weeks.

“Luke is progressing really well from his fractured patella and cartilage damage behind his patella,” Crowther said.

“He has run for the first time today on an anti-gravity treadmill, which is a machine that takes the weight off your body, and he’ll return to play in about five weeks which will be the Super 8s.”

Crowther had less encouraging news on the Tigers’ other long-term casualties.

Utility back Ben Roberts, who has played only one match in the last three months with calf and hamstring injuries, is now facing another six weeks on the sidelines after tearing a pectoral muscle in training.

“We are 95 per cent certain it doesn’t need surgery, so it will be conservative treatment,” Crowther said.

Winger Greg Minikin will be out for another eight to 10 weeks after undergoing ankle surgery and second rower Alex Foster will not play again this year after having foot surgery.

More positively, Crowther reported no fresh injuries from Saturday’s 44-16 defeat by Catalans Dragons and winger Greg Eden and loose forward Adam Milner are poised to return against Leeds Rhinos on Sunday.

England forward Mike McMeeken is two to three weeks away from recovering from a knee injury and centre or second rower Joe Wardle is seven days from returning from a collar-bone injury.