Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford is in doubt for the start of the 2021 season after scans on Tuesday revealed he had suffered a fractured hand at training.
Scans on Tuesday revealed that Milford had fractured a metacarpal in his hand initially during a team camp on the Sunshine Coast last week, but only felt the injury flare up this week at training.
Coming off contract and under pressure to deliver as Brisbane’s highest-paid player, Milford’s recovery timeline has him in doubt for their season-opener against Parramatta on March 12 if he takes the full six weeks to get back on the paddock.
A four-week recovery would still have Milford unlikely to play in a pre-season trial, with Brodie Croft and Tom Dearden Brisbane’s alternative halves pairing if he is not fit for round one.
"Anthony felt pain in his hand during a drill today and we sent him for scans," Brisbane head of performance Andrew Croll said.
"He has been reviewed by a surgeon and a hand therapist and at this stage the best course of action is surgery to repair the fracture.
"He will undergo surgery later this week, with a recovery time of 4-6 weeks."
Brisbane's only official NRL trial is at the end of the month against the Cowboys at Redcliffe, which doubles as a testimonial match for long-serving veteran Alex Glenn.
Broncos in 2021
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Milford has been touted as a captaincy contender in recent times by coach Kevin Walters as he weighs up the club's leadership options, and has rotated through the scrumbase along with Dearden and Croft this pre-season.
"There’s certainly some guys putting their hand up and Anthony is one of them," Walters said of Milford's captaincy credentials last week.
"He’s a good trainer and he’s a good player – it’s now for Anthony to work in with the team and sorting out the problem areas that we face.
"I’ve been very impressed with all the players and Milf has come back in good shape post-Christmas which shows he’s determined for a really good season here at the Broncos."