NRL | Knights halfback Jack Cogger puts the team first and delays finger surgery as the club battles an injury crisis

Courageous Newcastle halfback Jack Cogger has played the past two games for the Knights with a ruptured tendon in his little finger that requires surgery.

But in sign of his toughness and team-first mentally, Cogger is delaying having the operation until after Mitchell Pearce returns from injury, most likely against Parramatta in three weeks time on July 13.

While it is yet to be determined when Cogger will go under the knife, it is conceivable his final game for the Knights could be on Saturday week against the Bulldogs, the club he will link with on a two year deal at the end of the season.

Knights head of football Darren Mooney confirmed Cogger’s injury but said when he will have the operation is yet to be determined.

“Jack is a tough kid who is putting the team first but it is not an injury than can get any worse and it is not stopping him from playing,”Mooney said.

“At the end of the day, he will need surgery and the discussion on when he has it done will take place with Jack, Nathan [coach Brown] and his staff in due course.”

Cogger’s manager Michael Newton said the 20-year-old playmaker could be out of action for up to 14 weeks after the surgery.

“My understanding is the surgery has to be done in two parts,”Newton said.

“The first part, they put like a spacer in his finger and then he has to wait six weeks. Then he has the second part done and apparently, it’s another eight week recovery after that.

“So that’s 14 weeks all up which makes the timing of when it’s done important in relation to him starting the pre-season on time.”

Cogger found out about the extend of the injury and the need for surgery on the day before the Roosters game a fortnight ago.

But Newton said there was never any thought to having the operation immediately.

“He can’t bend the finger but from his point of view, he’d play on one leg and one arm until Mitch gets back just to do the right thing by the club,”Newton said.

“The specialist told Jack the little finger is really important because after your thumb, your second main grip finger is the pinky.”

Newton believes it’s possible the Bulldogs game could be his last for the club.

“The way it has worked out, possibly the Bulldogs game could be his last game depending on what the club decides to do.”he said.

Mitchell Pearce

Mitchell Pearce

Cogger’s finger dramas only add to the Knights crippling injury list that currently has seven regular top graders missing in action with backrower Lachlan Fitzgibbon also sidelined for the next two games through suspension.

Back-up hooker Danny Levi is also believed to be battling a back problem.

Coach Brown will also be sweating on key forwards Herman Ese’ese and Slade Griffin both getting through Sunday’s Test for New Zealand against England in Denver, USA unscathed.

Pearce, centres Tautau Moga and Nathan Ross, Daniel and Jacob Saifiti, Jamie Buhrer and Jacob Lillyman were all unavailable for the side’s last match against Melbourne Storm while Fitzgibbon copped a two game ban after seeking a downgrade on a crusher tackle charge and losing at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

He will miss the Bulldogs and Eels games.

Lillyman is expected to be back for the Bulldogs clash and Ross is considered a good chance of returning as well, although he is said to be still struggling to fully shake off groin and hip complaints.

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