AAP Rugby

NRL clubs await rules on injury treatments

By AAP Newswire

The NRL are considering guidelines on how clubs manage their injured stars during the coronavirus pandemic, with players not expected at training facilities.

The league are believed to be formulating a plan with the players' association, with the clubs still facing a duty of care to help their players back to full fitness.

It came as a new hurdle was placed on club officials on Wednesday with most elective surgeries banned from midnight under new government regulations.

Newcastle hooker Jayden Brailey was believed to have been rushed under the knife on Wednesday, after suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on Sunday.

A knee reconstruction is considered a category three surgery, and will not be allowed from Thursday in public or private hospitals in a bid to free up beds.

There is research to suggest surgery is not always needed for ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments, however almost all athletes opt for surgery.

But Brailey is believed to have narrowly beaten the deadline, helping his chances to be fit for next season.

The new rules also means teams will struggle to have players receive general clean-up surgery during the break.

Clubs were also considering how they could best help the more than 35 players already in rehabilitation across the league.

Full guidelines from the NRL are expected to be announced later this week.

Under current government guidelines, physiotherapists can still operate and there is a chance they will still be able to complete face-to-face appointments with players.

However most clubs are down to skeleton staff at best in their football department, with many on leave or no longer being paid but still wanting to assist players.

Some teams have set up software programs with exercises and videos for rehabilitation, as they return to full fitness.

The lay off is also expected to be a test of commitment for injury-free players.

Some at clubs believe it will be a chance for some players to become even stronger, with weight work limited during the season compared to the summer.

Players have been told maintain their running and some ball work where possible, with as little as two weeks warning expected between the return to training and playing.

One club staff member told AAP that players would now suddenly have the "best home gyms in Sydney" with club gear handed out to help players stay fit.

But there is the possibility some players could lose some of their conditioning, with results often dropping off after 10 days with less training.

Players routinely returned from the off-season or Christmas break down on their fitness in the past, though that is now less common.