ASHLEY Tait could tomorrow discover that his Sheffield Steelers season is over.
The winger fears he has a ruptured ligament in his left ankle - and if that is confirmed by a second scan it could mean surgery.
If Steelers are to make inroads on Belfast Giants’ lead at the top of the division - starting with a home win over the Irish on Friday - they could well do with one of Britain’s best ever home-grown players in their ranks.
Ironically, Tait was injured in the last home game against Giants, his foot appearing to remain planted as he twisted to head back in his zone on a penalty kill.
Tait said: “Surgery is the worst-case scenario, but I’m not panicking as there’s nothing I can do. Clearly a non-invasive repair would be best but I’ll know more when I see the specialist tomorrow. This is not an injury I’ve had before. Sometimes it feels like it’s getting better, other times it’s really painful.”
On the more positive front, Rod Sarich may be close to a return after recovering from kidney damage.
The club suggest he could be considered for selection as early as this Friday, giving coach Ryan Finnerty the dilemma of whether to include Sarich over Nick Duff or Chad Huttel.
“It will be a nice headache to have,” said Finnerty. “Roddy has been involved in all our physical drills for two weeks. We have some special rib protectors coming in and if Rod comes through another week of training then I think he’ll be ready. Ideally I would rather Rod came back in a Fife or Edinburgh game but the man is pure quality and we need quality against a team like the Giants.
“Even if we just had Roddy on the power play this would give us a huge boost.”