HALIFAX coach Matt Calland has confirmed that centre Mike Ratu is facing a lay off of up to 16 weeks after undergoing surgery on his broken arm.
The former Leeds and Hull KR threequarter, who joined Fax at the turn of the year after leaving the Robins after just one season on Humberside, reeled away in agony after making a tackle in the 17th minute of Sunday’s 50-10 Northern Rail Cup win over Oldham.
“Mike’s had a really bad break,” said Calland.
“He’s fractured his ulna and dislocated his wrist.
“He’s had the operation now and at the moment I think we’re looking at something like 16 weeks, eight in pot and then another eight before he can play again.
“I just feel desperately sorry for the kid, because he came back to us at Christmas not really in shape and he has worked really hard on his fitness levels over the last month or so.
“I think the main thing is that all being well he will be back in the summer, so he still has a role to play for us this season.
“It’s not a career-threatening injury and he will be playing again when we get to the business end of the season.”
Calland said the priority now was to maintain both the fitness and motivation of a young player who, by his own admission, contemplated his professional future after quitting Craven Park.
“He will still be able to do cardio work and he will still be part of the group,” said Calland.
“He’s such a talented centre and we will do all we can to keep him involved.”
Calland, who takes his side to Whitehaven on Sunday in the NRC, said he was still working on the premise that last weekend’s other major injury victim, goal-kicking back Lee Paterson, has relatively minor ankle ligament damage rather than a fracture.
“Lee might miss a couple of weeks, although the medical staff were concerned about him when he came off,” said Calland.
One player who has not featured for Fax in 2011, and will not play on Sunday either, is Leigh-based centre or back row Adam Rudd.
Rudd, who dislocated his shoulder 40 minutes into his Fax debut at Sheffield last August, has suffered a recurrence of the injury.
A delay in completion of the takeover of crisis club Wakefield cost the Wildcats another player on Tuesday when Huddersfield swooped for second-row forward Dale Ferguson.
The 23-year-old, who scored two tries in Wakefield’s 40-20 opening-day defeat by Castleford last Saturday, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Giants.
He leaves Belle Vue 24 hours after the administrators running Wakefield accepted an offer from Hull for half-back Sam Obst.
The Wildcats, who went into administration on Friday, thought they had gained new owners when agreement was reached for the purchase of the club by local businessman Andrew Glover acting on behalf of Spirit of 1873.
But talks to complete the deal have yet to be completed and the administrators in charge of the club, O’Hara and Company, are within their rights to sell assets in order to pay the creditors.