NRL Rd 3 - Rabbitohs v Roosters
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Luke Keary of the Roosters is helped off the field after a leg injury during the round three NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia on March 26, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Sydney Roosters' star half Luke Keary has suffered an injury setback ahead of his return from an ACL injury.

Keary managed just three games in the 2021 season before his year came to an abrupt end with just five minutes to go in a loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs with a full ACL injury.

The star - who could have been on track for State of Origin duties before the injury - has been back on the training paddock for just a matter of weeks following his nine-month recovery.

However, he was pictured in a moon boot earlier this week, raising fresh concerns over his fitness.

It would appear however that the injury is minor, although his already late return to pre-season, combined with the issue of COVID stopping teams from training at full strength means the star will be losing valuable time to regain his fitness with each day he isn't able to train.

The Roosters have reportedly confirmed Keary had a bone spur surgically removed from his ankle late last year, however, he is in no doubt for Round 1.

The Roosters spent much of the 2021 season battling with an injury crisis the likes of which the NRL has rarely seen before.

Despite that, Trent Robinson's side managed to finish in fifth spot on the table before being knocked out in Week 2 of the finals by the Manly Sea Eagles.

It's tipped that Keary will come straight back into the side for Round 1 to form a halves partnership with either young gun Sam Walker, or Drew Hutchison, who did a superb job filling in for Keary during 2021.

The Roosters will play pre-season trials in February against the Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers, before opening their season against the Newcastle Knights at home on Saturday, March 12.

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