• Rest of Warriors Side Will have to Step Up in Shaun Johnson’s Absence

    There was no added insult, unless you consider the 34 – 22 loss to the Penrith Panthers by the New Zealand Warriors such, but the injury part of that old adage was more than adequate to suffice.

    The Warriors lost Shaun Johnson for the rest of the season, meaning that their star halfback will also be unable to participate in the Kiwi’s Rugby League World Cup campaign, which starts on October 27.

    Johnson, according to the New Zealand Herald, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is fancy medic talk for “blew out his knee.” A spokesperson for the club said that while Johnson will undergo scans, the club is “99 percent certain” regarding the nature of the injury.

    If he does indeed need surgery, it would take place in two to three weeks’ time and his estimated time for rehabilitation is at least six months.

    Johnson had a similar injury to his ankle at about this time in 2017, so he is accustomed to the arduous rehab ligament surgery involves, but that would have to be considered small consolation.

    The Warriors have had a spate of injuries that have hampered them for the past two seasons of the NRL. Thomas Leuluai in 2015 and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in 2016 had ACL issues.

    Johnson’s knee went our midway through the second half, and as it typical of ACL ruptures, it did not seem serious at the time. He was simply chasing another player on a break, when he pulled up suddenly.

    Optimistic projections would have Johnson ready ahead of the 2018 season. As for the rest of the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership competition, Johnson will be missed, and according to his teammate Kieran Foran, it is unlikely that an adequate substitute can be found. “You can’t replace a guy like that,” Foran said.