Ward missed all but the final four games of last year due to a knee injury.
He suffered a setback during training after being called into England’s Four Nations squad, but has now been given the all-clear and has an opportunity to prove his fitness for Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener at St Helens on Thursday, February 9.
Skipper Danny McGuire will miss Friday’s game after suffering a quad injury in the win over Hull KR a week earlier.
Joel Moon and Brad Singleton also drop out after suffering what Rhinos say are “minor injuries” in Ryan Hall’s testimonial game and Adam Cuthbertson is ill.
Brett Ferres (abductor muscle) and Keith Galloway (Achilles) remain on the casualty list, along with teenager Cameron Smith.
Liam Sutcliffe will step up from the bench to start alongside Rob Burrow in the halves.
Jimmy Keinhorst will take over from Moon in the centres and Anthony Mullally comes into the starting front-row in place of Cuthbertson.
Jack Ormondroyd - who played for Rovers against Wakefield Trinity on dual-registration last Sunday – replaces Singleton at loose-forward.
Cory Aston, who also played for Featherstone last weekend, will be on the bench for Leeds this week.
Some of Leeds’ substitutes on Friday are set to back up when Rhinos complete their pre-season campaign at Doncaster two days later.
Leeds’ side to face Featherstone is: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Jimmy Keinhorst, Ryan Hall, Liam Sutcliffe, Rob Burrow, Mitch Garbutt, Matt Parcell, Anthony Mullally, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Jack Ormondroyd. Subs Stevie Ward, Brett Delaney, Josh Walters, Ash Handley, Jordan Baldwinson, Jordan Lilley, Cory Aston, Mikolaj Oledzki, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Sam Hallas.