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Familiarity with ACL injury helps Leeds Rhinos’ Kallum Watkins on road to recovery

Kallum Watkins walks from the pitch at Magic Weekend after sustaining what it later transpired was an anterior cruciate injury. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
Kallum Watkins walks from the pitch at Magic Weekend after sustaining what it later transpired was an anterior cruciate injury. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
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INJURED Leeds Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins says the experience of having torn his anterior cruciate once before is now aiding his recovery second time around.

The England centre was ruled out for the season when he suffered the ACL injury against Castleford Tigers at Magic Weekend in May.

Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

He is not expected back in first-team action until 2019 but reports that his rehabilitation after surgery is positive.

“It’s going really well,” said Watkins.

“It’s 11 weeks now post-op and I haven’t had any issues with the knee.

“The op went well and, although it’s a long process, it is one I’m used to as I have suffered the injury before.

Being through it all before has certainly helped me. Obviously, the last time I was only young and wasn’t playing regular so it’s a little bit different having to sit out games this time. But I’m managing okay.

Kallum Watkins

“It was eight or nine years ago when I did pretty much the same thing to the other knee.

“Back then, it wasn’t as common an injury but through the years it seems a lot of players have been suffering this type of cruciate issue.

“A lot of them have had to get used to the process of getting back and it is hard.

“But being through it all before has certainly helped me.

“Obviously, the last time I was only young and wasn’t playing regular so it’s a little bit different having to sit out games this time.

“But I’m managing okay.”

Watkins, 27, says he hopes to be back by the lower-end of the recovery time-scale.

“They say anything between six and eight months for this but we are targeting six,” he continued.

“They wait to see if they find any further damage when they go into the knee during the op but they said there wasn’t that much extra.

“So it’s all about how the knee reacts at different stages now either when on the bike, doing a swift walk or on the treadmill and doing heavier weights.

“The next stage will be starting to run, getting the weight-bearing right and then straight-line running.

“I know what’s to come and I am ready to go through it.”

Although Watkins will obviously miss England’s autumn series against New Zealand, he should be fit for the start of the new season and may yet even make the traditional Boxing Day friendly fixture.

Meanwhile, he is pleased to see his team-mates start their bid to retain Super League status so positively with back-to-back wins against Toulouse and London Broncos.

“It’s great to get off to that start,” said Watkins.

“We wanted the performance to be better in both games but, at the same time, wins are the all important matter now.

“It was always going to be tough against two very good Championship sides but now the lads can focus on what will be a difficult fixture against a Super League side in Hull KR here on Saturday.

“KR got a great win over in Toronto and they’ll be coming to Emerald Headingley in confident mood now.

“But the boys have had a bit of time off this week and they’ll be coming in themselves refreshed and ready to get preparing for a crucial match.”