SAINTS are hopeful that Jon Wilkin’s dislocated shoulder will not need surgery and that he will back in the frame to play in four weeks.

The skilful backrower picked up the injury chasing and diving on an attacking kick in the last game against Salford.

It was initially feared that he needed surgery and would be out for the year – but Nathan Brown holds out some hope.

Brown said: “Wilko has dislocated his shoulder.

“We are going to try and rehab and get it better but we don’t know how long exactly.

“He will miss the next three to four weeks and then hopefully he will come back and be right to play.

“We are having a shot at rehab and if that does not work it’s not good.

He may not need the op - if he does, then he is gone for the season. He had this sort of injury a year before I came and rehabbed it and was fine.

“Some blokes have enough stuff there around the shoulder to get it stable and then play again, some don’t, so it is a case of wait and see.”

Although Wilkin occasionally gets some flak from a section of the Saints support – especially when he has been forced into the half back role – his form has been good and he offers something different to the pack.

Brown added: “Wilko has not only been one of our better players but he’s also been one of the better players in the comp.

“He will definitely be missed – some of the other guys are going to have to step up in his absence because he brings a lot of leadership to the team as well.

Elsewhere there is good news with all the other players who suffered knocks in that last game.

“Tommy Makinson had a slight problem – and he would have been ruled out last week had we played – but it is fortunate for us. I think we got a bit of luck there.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, ankle, and and Anthony Walker, bad concussion, are both clear to play.

And Brown has some of injured stars fit and ready to go.

“Willie Manu is back this week, as too is Jonny Lomax and big Alex.

“Josh Jones and Mark Percival played at Rochdale a fortnight ago and are fit and available again.

“The blokes that are coming back from injury are really important parts of the team.

“They all deserve their spots somewhere, which means that players who have done a good job for us this past two weeks will miss out,” Brown said.