Rugby League - Big chill could pay off for Smith

Wakefield are using modern medical technology in an attempt to help playmaker Tim Smith recover from an ankle injury in time for Sunday's opening Super League game at Bradford.

The Australian half-back was expected to miss the start of the new season after damaging ankle ligaments against St Helens earlier this month. But the club have turned to cryotherapy, which involves the treatment of injuries through exposure to freezing cold temperatures, in a bid to speed up Smith's recovery.

"The club have invested in a cryogenic compression machine," said coach Richard Agar at Wakefield's pre-season media day. "He's had round-the-clock work on his ankle. We got the machine in the day after he got injured and he's made really significant progress."

He went on: "We're going to get him on the field on Saturday morning but I'm not going to rush him back. If we get him back this week it will be a week before we expected.

"He's making terrific progress but, unless we know he's 100% right, we won't play him because he's too important to us. I'd say he was less than 50-50.

"It's his right foot so I need to know he can kick the ball with as much power as he can when he's fully fit. There's 27 rounds to play so I'm not going to take any risks."

With fellow half-back Kyle Wood also expected to miss the opening game due to a detached retina, Agar had been planning to utilise Isaac John or Matty Wildie as Paul Sykes' half-back partner but he could be spoilt for choice by the weekend.

"Kyle is at a specialist as we speak and, if he gets the all-clear, he's ready," added Agar. "He's been training with us all week but we've had to keep him out of any contact until we get the all-clear."

Meanwhile, Agar confirmed that 20-year-old Reece Lyne will make his debut against the Bulls in the absence of centre Lee Smith, who dislocated a thumb in training.

Lyne joined the club in the close season from Hull and impressed during the club's trial matches.