Roberts a doubt for State of Origin opener

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James Roberts' chances of featuring in the State of Origin opener appear to be slim after the Brisbane Broncos centre suffered ankle ligament damage which could rule him out for four weeks.

Roberts has been in scintillating form for Wayne Bennett's men in the NRL this season, but was carried off late in a 32-18 victory over Penrith Panthers on Thursday.

The 24-year-old was struck by a swinging leg from team-mate Matt Gillett and it was feared he will face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after damaging his ankle.

Roberts' injury is not as bad as first thought, but may rule him out of the New South Wales Blues squad for an Origin debut against Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium on May 31.

A statement on the Broncos' website said: "Roberts had scans this morning on the injury that forced him from the field in last night's 32-18 win over the Panthers.

"It was feared that Roberts had some bone damage, but the scans have revealed no fractures.

"Roberts however does have some ligament damage, which could take four weeks to heal.

"That damage is expected to keep him off the field until the Broncos' Round 12 match against the Warriors in New Zealand.

"That match is due to be played the weekend before the State of Origin opener."