Jamie Soward says the Cowboys only have themselves to blame for Valentine Holmes’ devastating injury after he was ruled out for up to 10 weeks on Tuesday.
North Queensland will be without Holmes for at least two months after the NRL star underwent ankle surgery.
‘SH*T SANDWICH’: NRL world reacts to Dean Pay quitting
Holmes had an arthroscopy on his left ankle on Monday and after the probe revealed the ankle syndesmosis was unstable he had the ligament surgically repaired.
The 24-year-old will spend between eight to 10 weeks recovering before he can return to league action for the Cowboys.
The news is a blow for Paul Green's struggling team, which has slipped to 12th on the ladder after last weekend's heavy loss to the Sydney Roosters in Townsville.
Holmes lasted just 41 minutes in the 42-16 defeat before aggravating the ankle he'd first injured the Warriors in round five.
Despite knowing his prize recruit wasn’t at full fitness, Green defended playing Holmes following the loss to the Roosters.
“He got jammed up in a tackle as well which didn't help given he had a sore ankle to start with,” Green said.
“He got passed last week to play and pulled up good.”
Jamie Soward’s scathing response
NRL star Soward was gobsmacked by the devastating injury news, saying the Cowboys “forced” Holmes to play.
#ValHolmes out for 8-10 weeks with an ankle injury. Why did they force him to play. 🤦🏽♂️— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial6) July 14, 2020
On Thursday night Soward said Holmes “shouldn’t be playing”.
“They pushed him to the wing to protect him and now it’s probably worse. I just don’t get it,” he tweeted.
“Players always want to play. Even when injured I always wanted to play.
“At the end of the day a STRONG coach will do what’s best for the player and not worry about the team because he knows playing a guy injured isn’t for everyone.”
Players always want to play. Even when injured I always wanted to play. At the end of the day a STRONG coach will do what’s best for the player and not worry about the team because he knows playing a guy injured isn’t for everyone. If vals out a long time now.... then wat?— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial6) July 9, 2020
Holmes' absence is the last thing the Cowboys need before Sunday's game against in-form Penrith with captain Michael Morgan (shoulder) also sidelined.
Holmes is in the first year of a six-year contract with the Cowboys, reportedly worth $5.8 million.
"Holmes is expected to be sidelined for 8-10 weeks."— The Rugby League Whisperer (@NRL_Oracle) July 14, 2020
So tell me again why it was a good idea to play him under an injury cloud last game? You can't 'manage' someone in an NRL game against the Premiers. Not even if you move them to the wing..#NRLhttps://t.co/U9fUXZjrSj