NRL: Star's return date uncertain

By David Skipwith

Johnson says this weekend’s game against cellar dwellers had no impact on decision

Shaun Johnson says he has played with various minor injuries throughout the season. Picture / Getty Images
Shaun Johnson says he has played with various minor injuries throughout the season. Picture / Getty Images

Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson says his groin injury is a week-to-week issue and is uncertain just how long he'll be kept on the sidelines.

The 23-year-old describes his rehabilitation process as a "mind game" with the severity of the injury feeling different from day to day and forcing him to be overly cautious with his training workload.

Johnson will miss Sunday's home game against the Cronulla Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium, the third week in a row he has been kept out of action, and was unable to give any firm indication of how far off his playing return might be.

"I'm feeling good and it's certainly improving which is a good sign. Whether next weekend or the week after that I'm just not too sure so I'll just take it easy and give it a good blowout some time this week and see how I go," he said.

Having teammate Thomas Leuluai on hand - a qualified authority on groin injuries after his own prolonged struggles (osteitis pubis) that saw him undergo surgery and a three-month stint on the sidelines - has been invaluable in helping Johnson understand his own injury and the need to be patient with his recovery.

"I'm definitely going to be cautious. Having Tommy around, he's made me well aware of what sorts of issues and how it can feel at times and he's been pretty spot-on. It's felt really good at times and then I'll just go and do something and all of a sudden I'll feel it go again. It's a bit of a mind game but if I just do my rehab and just stay disciplined then I'm sure it will come right."

Johnson revealed he had played with various minor injuries throughout the season, and his latest problem follows a small groin strain suffered in the Warriors' round 11 win over the Gold Coast Titans.

"Yes, so it's the same side as back then. I've had a few little groin strains that I've been able to play through but this one's a bit too much," he said.

With just five rounds to go in the regular season and the Warriors sitting in eighth position, every match is crucial to their hopes of remaining on course for their first finals appearance since 2011. After Cronulla, the Warriors have an away clash with Newcastle, and then host the Roosters and Titans in consecutive weeks, before heading to Penrith for their clash with the Panthers.

Johnson insists the fact that the Warriors are playing the bottom-ranked and injury-hit Sharks this week had no impact on his decision to sit the game out.

"I'm not worried about who we're playing. I think any game you've got to look at as a must-win game. You've seen the Sharks beat the Panthers a few weeks back and teams are beating anyone from anywhere. There's not that in my head, it's more just getting myself right. If I'm right next week then I'll play, simple. If not then I'm not going to risk it."

Warriors' run home
Round 22: Cronulla Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 23: Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium
Round 24: Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 25: Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 26: Penrith Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 Dec 2014 07:00:01 Processing Time: 484ms