But Hardaker will have to wait for his second debut after collapsing while walking with his young son on Tuesday afternoon.
Hardaker is back home after undergoing tests at Pinderfields Hospital but he will not be considered for selection until he gets the all-clear.
Jones-Buchanan was shocked to learn about Hardaker's seizure after guiding the full-back through his first training session back at the Rhinos on Tuesday morning.
"It was really unexpected," said the Leeds interim head coach.
"Of course, our first thoughts are with Zak, his health and making sure he's alright.
"As always, the club have responded really well. He's got everything he needs in terms of medical advice and support, and will continue to do so.
"I've been around the boys and told them to send him a text message or give him a call to let him know we're all thinking about him and can't wait to see him back.
"There's a lot of the season still to be played and he'll make some big contributions, for sure.
"I think it just underpins the fact that, for whatever reason, he's not quite well.
"I'm not a clinical psychologist - physical or mental - but we need to look after Zak and make sure he's good and has an opportunity to be a better version of himself."
The health scare represents a setback just as Hardaker was settling back into familiar surroundings following his high-profile departure from Wigan Warriors.
But Jones-Buchanan, who played alongside Hardaker during his first spell at Headingley, says you cannot keep him down for long.
"He's positive as always," added Jones-Buchanan.
"He's a tough character and always looks on the bright side of life. That's one of the reasons why we're excited to get him back.
"The team has gone through a little bit in the last little while so it's good to get somebody with some legacy and history with us and puts smiles on people's faces. That always starts with him because he's a positive kid.
"We're looking forward to getting him back but we've got to make sure he comes back in the right context."
Jack Broadbent has been preparing to play at full-back in what will be Jones-Buchanan's final game in temporary charge.
As Rohan Smith prepares to take the reins next Tuesday, Jones-Buchanan is enthused about the new working relationship.
"I've had lots of conversations with him and he's been watching a lot of video and we've been sending him a lot of information," said the Rhinos assistant coach.
"Ultimately he'll form his own subjective opinions on players and the set-up.
"I'm really looking forward to learning from him. He's been a career coach, has a lot of experience and comes from a great pedigree.
"Already some of the messages and conversations we're having, they're of great interest and really encouraging.
"It's going to be exciting when he gets here early next week."
Smith will again have a watching brief on Friday night as Leeds look to end Hull KR's six-match winning run.
Jones-Buchanan has stressed that the Rhinos cannot rely on Rovers taking their eye off the ball as they prepare to face Huddersfield Giants for a place in the Challenge Cup final.
"They're on a winning streak and will be getting excited about the semi-final," he said.
"I know having been coached by Tony Smith that he's not one of those coaches who likes to slow down in the week before a semi. He'll want to go full tilt and keep the momentum going.
"We'll be challenged with the best of Hull KR."