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Penrith enforcer Spencer Leniu suffered a ruptured testicle at training on Wednesday evening, but tried to convince club staff he could still train the following day in a bid to keep himself in the NSW Origin selection frame.
Leniu will miss Friday night’s heavyweight clash with his future club the Roosters after he was accidentally kneed in the groin during an opposed session and rushed to Nepean Hospital.
Having undergone successful surgery and returned home on Thursday morning, Leniu then tried to convince Penrith’s medical and coaching staff he could still take part in the side’s final session.
Leniu was kept off the paddock but is already working out what protective gear he can wear in a bid to return for next Thursday’s clash against ladder-leaders Brisbane, his last chance to impress Brad Fittler before the NSW coach picks his Origin I squad next Sunday night.
Injuries to a raft of Blues middle forward options have seen Leniu’s name tossed up as a possible bolter with his leg speed and aggression a potential point of difference.
Leniu is expected to see him make a full recovery from the eye-watering injury. Both he and Penrith staff have already begun investigating the circumstances around Tom Dearden’s quick return from the same injury last year.
Spencer Leniu scores a try on the weekend against the New Zealand Warriors.Credit: Getty
Dearden missed just one game for the Cowboys after copping a wayward knee against the Warriors in round 23 before returning a week before the finals.
A tighter turnaround between games for Penrith though means Leniu would be looking at an eight-day recovery before their next game against the Broncos, whereas Dearden had effectively two weeks before he returned wearing a protective cup.
Leniu’s shift to the Roosters on a lucrative deal is likely to see him lining up alongside veteran Kiwi and childhood hero Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Speaking before going down during the week, Leniu said he was relishing both the chance to tangle with Waerea-Hargreaves at BlueBet Stadium and talk of the 34-year-old going around for another year in 2024.
“I looked up to Jared growing up, and being a New Zealand kid, and watching him play in the early days, he’s obviously a good role mode for front-rowers,” Leniu said.
“He’s had that impact on the game for such a long time now. I’m not looking too far ahead, but if I get that chance to play with him, I’d love to be a sponge and pick his brain.”
Panthers back-rower Liam Martin is expected to make a timely return from an ongoing hamstring issue against the Roosters.
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