Seibold has refused to put a return date on David Fifita. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty
Seibold has refused to put a return date on David Fifita. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty

Seibold rules out Fifita return date

BRONCOS coach Anthony Seibold won't put a time frame on David Fifita's return from knee surgery and says he won't rush Matt Lodge back now the NRL has settled on a 20-round season.

Fifita will miss the opening rounds of the NRL's planned season resumption from May 28 after undergoing surgery on a torn meniscus three weeks ago.

The Broncos kept Fifita's operation under wraps until this week and have refused to publicly announce how long the rising star is expected to be sidelined.

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Fifita's recovery is expected to take about two months, potentially ruling him out of the first few games of the rebooted season if it begins on May 28.

Fifita, 20, suffered the injury in Round 1 against the Cowboys in Townsville, a game where he produced a remarkable 70m solo effort to score a fabulous try.

"He hurt it in round one and played round two with it," Seibold said.

"With the big break and season being postponed, we decided to get it repaired.

"One of the things we had to do was get three different surgeons to look at it to get approval to get the operation done (due to restrictions on elective surgery).

"I'm not going to give you any time frame because we won't get a proper look at David until next week (when training resumes).

"David won't be right to start May 28th but at the moment we don't have a definitive date on his return."

 

While Fifita will be sidelined for the restart of the season, prop Matt Lodge is pushing to make his first appearance of the year.

Matt Lodge in a knee brace. Picture: Annette Dew
Matt Lodge in a knee brace. Picture: Annette Dew

Lodge suffered a partial ACL tear on the eve of pre-season trials, an injury which threatened to end his 2020 campaign before it started.

With the support of specialists, Lodge rolled the dice and opted to delay surgery in the hope the injury healed to a point he would be able to play.

The dice have fallen in his favour and Lodge is pushing to return in the first round of matches.

But with the NRL settling on a 20-round campaign, which includes another 18 games, Seibold said he was reluctant to rush Lodge back into the action.

"He's progressing really well, he's been able to do straight-line running," he said.

"Now we know there's another 18 games to go, that's a big chunk of games. If he is not quite right then we're not going to rush him back.

"'Lodgey' has been really smart with how he's handled it. He's played with a partial tear of his ACL since 2015 so he's dealt with this injury previously.

"He's a smart guy. He knows his body and what he needs to do. He's been really positive in my conversations with him.

"He may not make that 28th of May but he may. Until we get back next week and get him running in front of all our staff and so on we won't know, but he's pretty positive which is the main thing.

Brodie Croft. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Brodie Croft. Picture: AAP/Darren England

"The specialist is really happy with how he's progressed.

"If he's not quite right for May 28th we'll err on the side of caution but he won't be too far away."

Halfback Brodie Croft (shoulder) and winger Corey Oates (ribs) have recovered from injuries suffered in the last game before the season was suspended.

Originally published as Broncos casualty ward: Fifita out indefinitely