Jarryd Hayne says the knee injury he sustained in Parramatta’s 36-20 defeat to the Warriors on Monday is not as serious as first feared, but admits he’s unsure when he’ll be fit to return to NRL action.
The NSW star was a late inclusion in the Eels’ side after missing round one because he injured the same knee in a trial match against Penrith last month.
Hayne’s return lasted just 16 minutes after he slumped to the turf unchallenged after making a break deep in his own half.
The crowd of just over 12,000 were stunned into silence as he was stretchered off the ground, but the early diagnosis is that the 2009 Dally M Medal winner has only damaged some scar tissue around the joint.
“I just took off full throttle and there was a gap there and I guess the knee was just not ready for it yet,” Hayne said.
“I have spoken to the physio and she said it’s going to take a while for the knee to get used to running like that again.
“It’s not a serious injury. The scar tissue that has popped has freed it up a bit and it has gone from being stiff to being loose.
“It is more annoying than anything and I just want to get it right and get out there with the boys.”
The news that Hayne would not be sidelined for a long spell was the only crumb of comfort for the Eels, who slumped to their second successive defeat against an impressive Warriors outfit who ran in six tries.
Winger Bill Tupou grabbed two and James Maloney chalked up 16 individual points in an entertaining encounter.
Coach Stephen Kearney, who axed the club’s top try-scorer Luke Burt before the game to accommodate Hayne, and wingers Cheyse Blair and Ken Sio, who both scored, admitted he feared the worst when his star player went down.
“I was thinking it was an ACL injury first up,” Kearney said.
“We’re not quite sure of a timeframe but the doctors seem quite happy about it.
“He’s walking around on it, and at halftime and he was bending his knee, so that was a positive sign for him.”
Kearney was also without skipper Nathan Hindmarsh who was sidelined with a virus but he was pleased with the contribution of his youthful side.
The hosts were in the game until the last five minutes, thanks to two Chris Sandow tries, only for the Warriors to reel off two long-range efforts to clinch the points.
Warriors coach Brian McClennan was pleased with the manner in which his side responded to conceding two tries so early in the game and believes there is plenty more to come from his players this season.
“We’re not starting halves very well but I thought our kicking game was a lot better and there was a stage there where we were under the pump and Jimmy Maloney busted it out and bought us time,” he said.
McClennan said he hoped Vatuvei’s good character will stand him in good stead when the NRL judiciary look at his high shot on Willie Tonga on Tuesday.
The giant winger was put on report for an incident that was similar to Frank Pritchard’s hit on Penrith winger David Simmons that earned him a one-match suspension last week.