Hull FC's Liam Watts ruled out of the season's opening few weeks due to broken thumb
HULL FC have suffered a blow before the new season's start with prop Liam Watts set to miss the opening few weeks.
Watts, who broke his thumb at the end of last season, has suffered a recurrence of the injury following a training ground accident before Christmas.
The former Hull KR forward arrived for the club's warm-weather training camp in Tenerife with his hand in a pot and heavily strapped.
Hull coach Peter Gentle told the Mail: "Liam has had a training accident and he's injured his thumb again. He's got a brace on it and we are going to be without him for the start of the season.
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"It happened before we came to Tenerife. He's had it sorted and now we'll have to wait for it to heal and he'll miss a few games for us. Our season won't be defined in the first few weeks of the season though and he'll be back stronger."
The club are not putting an exact time frame on Watts' return, but he is unlikely to feature in the opening few rounds.
Arriving from Craven Park in the middle of last season, Watts grew to be a valuable member of the Black and Whites' side, earning a starting spot in the front row alongside captain Andy Lynch.
Whilst disappointed for his young forward, Gentle insists Hull's squad depth leaves them well placed to cover.
"It's a big blow for Wattsy, but what this does is give Paul Johnson and Jay Pitts a chance, and our young blokes too," he added.
"We still have those guys, plus Andy Lynch and Mark O'Meley, so we've got plenty of options and we've still got five guys pushing for that position. We have enough cover."
Watts is the only member of Hull's 32-man squad not currently training, with the long list of injured players from the end of last season now fully fit and taking part in every session in Tenerife.
Richard Horne failed to make the trip in order to be at the birth of his third child, but Gentle says he's delighted to have almost his entire squad out on the field.
He added: "Joe Arundel, Richard Whiting, Danny Tickle and Kirk Yeaman are all back in full training with us.
"We set a date of everyone being fit for this trip and despite Wattsy's injury, we've got everyone fit and training with us. There is only Liam, and Richard Horne not on the field.
"That makes such a difference and we are getting everything done that we wanted to out here.
"This camp sits so well for us, the timing is perfect. It falls perfectly into our training schedule. We will get back, have the first trial match and then have three weeks to build up to the start of the Super League season."