Dragons hopeful over Widdop recovery
St George Illawarra Dragons remain hopeful that Gareth Widdop has not played his last game for the club, but he is expected to miss at least four months following shoulder surgery.
Widdop suffered a dislocated shoulder during the Dragons' dramatic 25-24 NRL win over Brisbane Broncos last week, the five-eighth leaving the field in agony.
It was the third dislocation in eight months for Widdop and had threatened to end his Dragons career prematurely, with the England international set to move to Warrington Wolves in 2020.
However, the Dragons' head of athletic performance Nathan Pickworth hopes that the stand-off – who had a similar operation in September - will feature for the club again in the latter stages of the season.
"Last night Gareth had a shoulder reconstruction," Pickworth told the club's website. "He's had a procedure that's called a Latarjet reconstruction.
"What happens is they take a piece of bone from elsewhere in his body and they move it into his shoulder to make the socket deeper in his ball and socket joint.
Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop left the field with a shoulder injury last night. Find out the latest below.— The Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) March 29, 2019
Official update: https://t.co/57thw14NUK
Report: https://t.co/ZirMpaWBLO pic.twitter.com/szURieM5MV
"It's a really stable shoulder reconstruction, they only have about a two per cent failure rate and he's pulled up really well from that.
"We spoke to the surgeon late last night and the surgeon's really happy with how the procedure went.
"Typically the recovery for these is about four to five months, but at this stage I think it is a bit too early to give a specific return-to-play timeframe for Gareth, but I'm pretty optimistic Gareth hasn't played his last game for the Dragons."
A five-month lay-off would see Widdop fighting to be ready for the final two rounds of the normal season, with the Finals more of a possibility should the Dragons qualify.