Bulldogs officials say at this stage the shoulder injury to Kieran Foran is not career-ending but the Kiwis international is not out of the woods yet as far as reconstructive surgery is concerned.
The positive signs on Sunday morning, following New Zealand’s 12-8 win over Great Britain at Auckland’s Eden Park, is that X-rays on Foran’s left shoulder were clear – there are no fractures in the joint.
Foran hurt his shoulder early in the match as he went into complete a tackle on Lions forward James Graham.
But the 29-year-old five-eighth will travel back to Sydney and undergo a MRI scan and other tests to determine the damage to tendons, ligaments and other soft tissue.
“We’ve worked really hard with Kieran over the last two years and we’ll continue to work with him and support him,” Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill told NRL.com.
“It won’t be until sometime later this week that we’ll know the full extent of the injury, but we’ll be around Kieran for whatever the next steps to recovery are.”
There are fears he might need a second reconstruction on the joint after he hurt it while at the Parramatta Eels in 2016.
But still, another surgery might not spell the end of his 11-season career at four NRL clubs. He is currently sitting on game No.199.
Kiwis players expressed their sadness at seeing Foran have to undergo more rehabilitation and treatment after he already withstood serious hamstring and syndesmosis injuries in 2019.
“Shattered for him … it was only the sixth minute when he tried to make a tackle and hurt his shoulder bad,” Kiwis prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves told the NZRL website on Sunday.
“But look he’s been through bigger things in his life that he’s overcome. No doubt the type of bloke and character he is, he’ll be back for sure.”
New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire said on Sunday he had faith in Foran’s mental strength to endure more therapy.
“It was unfortunate for Kieran but I know him well and he’ll bounce back bigger and stronger. He is one resilient human being,” Maguire said.
“I’ve seen how professional he is when he’s been in camp with us. So it’s tough as a coach to see a player go through this.
“I’ve had a long relationship with Kieran over a long period of time – he’s had his ups and downs – but he was in really good form and ready to go. So it’s tough for him but he’ll bounce back.”
The Kiwis take on the Lions again this Saturday in Christchurch to complete their two-match series.