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Dragons star Jack Bird cleared of ankle fracture

3 minute read

Jack Bird's injury has been diagnosed as a significant ankle sprain, but the St George Illawarra centre's return-to-play timeline is still unclear.

Jack Bird has been cleared of an ankle fracture after leaving St George Illawarra's loss to Canterbury on a medi-cab, but his return-to-play timeline remains unclear.

Ugly scenes unfolded after the Dragons centre had his left foot crushed while attempting to tackle Bronson Xerri just before halftime on Thursday night.

A serious injury diagnosis appeared inevitable as the 29-year-old writhed on the ground in intense pain, later moving onto a stretcher and then medi-cab to leave the field.

But on Friday morning, scans revealed injury-plagued Bird had suffered a serious sprain.

"Scans have revealed a significant ankle sprain but no fracture," a Dragons statement read.

Dragons teammate Hame Sele has been diagnosed with a fractured right shoulder after hurting himself in the opening minutes of the 44-12 loss.

The prop initially played through the pain before leaving the field and booking in for scans.

"Both players will require further review from specialists before a return-to-play date can be estimated," the statement added.

Bird's injury proved a turning point in the game, with the Bulldogs running in seven second-half tries by attacking the Dragons' makeshift edges.

"When you lose a centre it is hard, that's probably where their strike is, out on the edges," coach Shane Flanagan said after the game.

"But that's football, you've just got to be able to handle it."

New recruit Christian Tuipulotu looms as the likeliest man to join the Dragons' backline for the coming weeks, but Flanagan hinted he could cast the net wider.

"There are a few kids there that played well in second grade so I'll have to take a look at that," he said.

There could be more than one player called in from St George Illawarra's fifth-placed NSW Cup team to play first grade against Penrith next Saturday.

"Without a doubt," Flanagan said when asked whether he would consider making changes.

"If you keep getting these results and you keep picking the same side, they'll find a new coach."

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