RITCHIE Hawkyard has not ruled out being available for Cougars' next game despite suffering horrific facial injuries against Hunslet.

The Cougars half-back was knocked out and needed plastic surgery on his mouth after splitting his lip in a sickening clash of heads with opponent Jimmy Watson.

He must return to hospital for X-rays on his cheekbone and jaw on Saturday but if they reveal no break, Hawkyard is targeting a comeback when Keighley resume league action at Coventry Bears on May 7.

He said: “I was sent to hospital in Bradford but the X-rays were not the best as my face was swollen so I’ve got to go back and have them again on Saturday.

“Hopefully they will show nothing is broken and I’m just waiting for my lip and chin to heal up. I’m also going for my stitches out on Saturday.

“If everything has healed all right and there is no infection, hopefully I can be back in two to three weeks.

“We don’t have a game over the next fortnight so at least I don’t miss another two matches and hopefully I can try to get back for the next one.”

A broken jaw could see him out of action for a couple of months but Hawkyard, who has been signed off from his job as a plasterer for a week, said: “They said at the hospital, they can’t see it being broken but the way I’m biting, my jaw is out of line. With the impact, it is probably just the disc where it joins and it might have just slipped.”

Hawkyard escaped a one-match suspension yesterday after submitting an early guilty plea to a Grade A charge for punching following his sin-binning against Hemel.

But the half-back, who also cracked two front teeth, will have to pass a head test before returning after being knocked out following the clash with Watson in the Good Friday encounter against Hunslet, which Cougars won 20-12.

The incident remains something of a blur to him as he recalled: “They had scored and I remember seeing a big gap in the middle of the field (from the restart). I said to Matty (Beharrell) ‘kick short and I’ll contest for it’.

“I was running to get the ball and thought ‘I’ve got it’. Then the next thing I know, Darren Millar, the physio, came on and was asking me if I could talk and move.”

Hawkyard, who was thankfully able to get to his feet, added: “There was blood all over me and Mike Emmett said to me ‘get yourself off’. Then in the changing rooms I looked in the mirror and saw my lip. It didn’t look good.”

The former Bradford Bulls Academy player insisted no one was to blame for the incident, which also left Watson concussed and with large gash above his left eye.

He said: “It was an accidental collision. We were both just going up for ball and it was a clash of heads, nothing malicious. It was just a freak accident.”

The 31-year-old, who spent eight years with Swinton Lions before joining Cougars, added: “Visually this is the worst injury I have had.

“I’ve dislocated my shoulder a few times and torn my hamstring but you can’t really see those.

“It’s worse for my little ‘un. She won’t come near me, she thinks I’ve got a Halloween mask on!”