Johns set to play against Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johns set to play against Panthers

By Darren Walton 19/06/2005 07:22:13 PM Comments (0)

Andrew Johns and the entire rugby league world breathed a collective sigh of relief when the superstar halfback was cleared of another serious neck injury.

Leading specialist John Yeo and Newcastle club doctor Neil Halpin gave Johns the green light to continue his brilliant career, ending a harrowing few days for the champion No.7.

Johns admitted the "terrifying" prospect of never playing again had been on his mind ever since hurting his neck during his sublime display in NSW's series-levelling State of Origin win over Queensland last Wednesday night.

But after suffering a season-ending neck injury in 2003, the 31-year-old was relieved to learn he had only sustained muscular damage this time.

Johns should be available for Newcastle's trip to Penrith on Saturday night and is almost certain to be fit for the Origin decider in Brisbane on July 6.

"I should be right for Origin, but I want to play for Newcastle next week," the Knights captain said before watching his team slump to its 13th straight loss of the season at Manly.

"The neck injury wasn't as serious as first thought. It's a ligament problem. It's like a whiplash effect.

"Hopefully I'll be back next week. It should settle down and hopefully I can play against the Panthers."

There had been genuine fears Johns may have played his last game and the widespread relief across the code was never more evident than when the Newcastle playmaker received a rousing reception from the normally partisan Manly crowd.

Johns has played just 10 games in the last two years after a rotten run of serious back, neck and knee injuries and a broken jaw earlier this season.

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