Shaun Johnson has been slated for a potential return in round 8-10 next year, while Royce Hunt is looking at a similar period on the sidelines after the Sharks assessed their injured players ahead of the summer break and began looking towards the 2021 season.
Johnson, who is set to return home to visit family and friends in New Zealand during his time off, ruptured an Achilles in the Sharks round 19 loss to the Roosters, and despite the surgery to repair the damage being hailed a success, the recovery time is projected to be up to 9 months, hence the star five eighth will miss the kick off to the new season in March.
In what was his second year in Cronulla colours, Johnson was amongst his teams best throughout the year, his 23 try assists leading the NRL during the 20-round regular season.
As for Hunt, the ruptured patella in his knee was equally serious, with the recovery timetable something similar to that of Johnson, meaning the front rower is also set to miss around the first third of the 2021 season.
The injury was a cruel blow for Hunt, who recently signed a two-year contract extension after having established himself in the Sharks top 17 with a series of robust performances.
Blayke Brailey was another to go under the surgeon’s knife, the young hooker suffering an ankle syndesmosis in the Finals loss to the Raiders.
After scoring a first half try, one which pushed his team out to an eight-point advantage, Brailey limped from the field and took no further part in the match, with the surgery performed the week following the Sharks finals exit.
In some good news, Brailey isn’t expected to miss any game time, with Sharks medical staff confident of having him back running after Christmas and available for selection for round one.
One player who managed to play out the season despite having some issues late in the year was Siosifa Talakai, with the hard-running backrower scheduled for an off-season shoulder operation.
Talakai’s return date has yet to be determined, however it is hoped if he does miss any game time it may only be the first few rounds of the 2021 season.
Other Sharks players, including Wade Graham, Scott Sorensen and Aaron Woods were assessed and sent for scans, although surgery was unlikely, with rest and recovery period predicted to have them ready for the resumption of pre-season later this year.
The first group of Sharks players are scheduled to return on November 25, with the entire group to be back on deck by December 9.