As Rotherham Titans battle with on-field problems which have brought six consecutive defeats, off the field, the feeling is more positive.
Several players who were seriously injured have made a strong recovery and are close to playing again after months of absence. Centre Jordan Davies, who has not played since damaging a knee against London Welsh in October, is back in full training and should be available for selection in a fortnight.
Like Davies, another of the Titans’ centres, Will Owen, has played only four games this season because of a knee injury sustained against his former club Moseley. Owen, in his first season at Rotherham, has been able to run for the last 10 days and will be having another scan next month.
According to Rotherham’s physio, David Swift, formerly at Leeds United during the George Graham and David O’Leary eras (1996-2002), Owen should be able to resume playing in a month or so.
Much nearer to appearing again is Welsh hooker Darran Harris who has also played just the four games since joining the Titans from Llanelli in the summer. Harris was tipped to be the first choice hooker, but his game-time has been restricted because he required a shoulder operation.
Harris is expected to be back in the number two shirt in two weeks.
Irish forward Will Ryan, who has not played at all this campaign because of a knee injury suffered in pre-season training, has rejoined the first team squad and it is hoped the number eight might be available again in two weeks.
Toby Williams, one of the strongest players at the Titans, is recovered from an arm injury and will be fit to play in the British & Irish Cup against Ealing and Leinster A.
Assuming Williams comes through those games with no ill effects, Rotherham will, therefore, be strengthened for the derby at Doncaster Knights at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, Jones has also been assured by the Titans’ medical team that the thumb injury to second row forward George Oram, suffered during the costly home defeat last Saturday by Cornish Pirates, is not as serious as was first thought and Oram should be fit to play in the B and I Cup clashes.
However, second row Toby Salmon, who also hurt a thumb against the Pirates, will be side-lined for between two to six weeks.
So eventually, Salmon will play again, but fly half Tom Barrett(foot) and winger Curtis Wilson(ankle) are both out for the rest of the season with long term injuries.