The captain of the Newcastle Knights, Kalyn Ponga, will not miss the rest of the football season despite an intense injury to his shoulder requiring a series of painkilling injections to allow for his play in the finals.
This news follows the diagnostic scans that Ponga received following an injury he suffered during the Knights‘ emphatic victory against the Sharks. Jesse Ramien executed a crushing tackle on the Newcastle star in the last quarter of the game, causing Ponga to be taken off the field.
This injury will prevent Ponga from playing in the last regularly scheduled season match against the Dragons. However, coach Adam O’Brien is holding out hope that Ponga’s recovery will be swift enough for him to return to play in the elimination final in Newcastle the subsequent week. This optimism persists despite original fears of a broken collarbone accompanying Ponga’s shoulder injury.
In a statement by the Knights, it was announced that: “Scans today have confirmed nib Newcastle Knights captain Kalyn Ponga has a high-grade AC shoulder injury.” Moreover, it was stated that Ponga’s injury will cause him to miss out on round 27 of the season, yet, “medical and performance staff have commenced treatment with a view to returning for week one of the finals series.”
Despite the aggressive nature of Ramien’s tackle that lead to Ponga’s injury, the NRL’s match review committee deemed the hit to be within legal limits.
Ponga’s teammate, Bradman Best, is optimistic about the 25-year-old’s injury recovery timeline. Discussing his hopes for Ponga’s return during finals as the Knights continue their eight-game winning streak, Best stated, “I think it’s decent, it’s a good injury.” He went on to say, “We’ll get him on ice and hopefully it’s not too bad. I’m thinking of him.”
This tough weekend for the NRL did not only hit the Knights. Other clubs are also dealing with injury blows. This includes: Penrith’s Jarome Luai suffering from a shoulder injury, Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes being down with a knee injury, the Roosters’ Joseph Manu and the Warriors’ Luke Metcalf both having hamstrings fail on them. All these incidents resulted in the players having to prematurely exit their respective matches.