St George Illawarra Dragons' forward Billy Burns is hopeful of being fit in time for pre-season trial matches after suffering an ankle injury during training.
Clubs who finished in the bottom eight on the 2021 NRL ladder have been back at training for around a fortnight following their mandatory end of season rest period, however, Burns' preparation for the 2022 season has hit a snag.
The former Penrith forward, who has the ability to play in the second-row and at centre, made 15 appearances for the Dragons in 2021 and played 80 minutes in the second-row for five of their last six matches.
It added to a previous 12 games at the Panthers during 2019 and 2020.
Wide World of Sports' The Mole is reporting that Burns was involved in a heavy collision during training last week and badly sprained his ankle. It's understood he suffered major ligament damage in the incident.
With previous issues to the ankle, and months of pre-season remaining, the club have reportedly taken no chances and will put Burns under the knife for a full recovery to be made.
It's understood he is hoping to be fit for pre-season trials, which would see a return to training sometime in January.
With an influx of forwards at the Dragons, Burns is unlikely to feature in Anthony Griffin's starting 13 during 2022, with Tariq Sims and Jaydn Su'A the most likely second-row combination, while the likes of Jack Gosiewski, Jackson Ford and Josh Kerr will be fighting with Burns for limited bench spots.
The Dragons' first trial match will be played on the weekend of February 18 to 20, before they play the Charity Shield against the South Sydney Rabbitohs the following week in Mudgee.