SAINTS prop Matty Lees faces a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a broken ankle.

The England Knights front rower rolled his ankle in the opening stages of the Challenge Cup clash against Leeds Rhinos and initially tried to play on with it.

It is a big blow for the 23-year-old who had started the season looking stronger after adding 5 kilos.

Coach Kristian Woolf said: "The surgery was a success, but it is going to be somewhere in the vicinity of 10 or 11 weeks out.

"It is positive but it could be more positive.

"He will be disciplined and work on his body and hit the ground running in a few weeks time.

"He plays tough and physical and throws his body round - that is what makes him a good player. But with that you can have injuries - but it will mean he will throw himself into his rehab as well.

"Those sorts of injuries are better than others - it means he can still work on his body and when he comes back on to the field he can pick up where he left off.

"He was playing really well before he got injured."

Because he has had a couple of injuries he has a mental toughness and a real positive attitude about what he needs to do next.

"That is certainly the impression I have got in the conversations I have had with him about this injury.

"I have sung his praises a number of times because he has a tough mindset and a really good work ethic and terrific discipline.

"All of those things - lead to blokes handling injuries well and coming back better from them." 

Saints are covered there at the moment with a prop quartet of Alex Walmsley, Agnatius Paasi, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Kyle Amor.

Lees long-term absence will also put new signing Dan Norman on standby should the middle be further depleted.