Kirke injury a bad one - McDermott
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has revealed forward Ian Kirke stopped breathing after being knocked out in a sickening clash at Huddersfield.
The 31-year-old was taken to hospital after receiving lengthy treatment on the field following a collision with Luke O'Donnell in the Rhinos' 48-24 Stobart Super League loss to the Giants on Sunday.
Kirke was discharged after being cleared of serious injury but McDermott said there were difficulties during the 10-minute stoppage before the player was carried off on a stretcher.
McDermott said: "He is up and about but he has still got a few little bluebirds swirling around in front of his eyes.
"It was a big one. He was out for a couple of minutes and I think he stopped breathing for a period of time - that is the news from the medical staff, that they had a bit of a job on out on the field.
"They spent a lot of time with him and they were shoving things down his throat.
"It was a weird situation because he was fighting back at the same time; he wasn't quite sure where he was.
"But he has come round this morning and is already putting his hand up to play next week."
Leeds, the reigning Super League champions, must now pick themselves up from the defeat as they take on Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the play-offs at Headingley Carnegie this Saturday.
Whether or not Kirke is fit to play will depend on assessments throughout the week.
McDermott said: "There is procedure we will have to go through and he will have to go through certain things.
"We will only play him if he is 110% fit but we are thankful he has come through okay.
"He is a tough hombre, a tough dude. This has happened to him this season before. He's had a clattering and he's not being clattered backing out of tackles.
"He's giving it some, carrying the ball and having a go. Sometimes when you do that you offer yourself, which is a brave thing to do."
O'Donnell was sent off by referee Thierry Alibert for his involvement in the incident, and in bizarre circumstances after it initially seemed he had been warned.
The Australian forward was then substituted but recalled to the field by Alibert and shown the red card.
However, O'Donnell has now won an appeal against his dismissal after a disciplinary panel found the collision to have been a clash of heads.
Another player who could return for the Rhinos this weekend is stand-off Danny McGuire, who has been out for almost five weeks with a knee injury.
McDermott said: "He has a chance of being fit this weekend. He has been really good for us this year; he's very influential in what we do, still scoring lots of tries.
"But it has to be said, he is not going to be the saviour. We have got to be careful about heaping too much pressure on him.
"Had he played yesterday I'm not sure he would have been able to prevent us losing - but he will certainly add to what we do."
Forward Brett Delaney could be doubtful with a shoulder injury while McDermott must also decide whether to recall prop Ryan Bailey.