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28 hours ago
Andrew Johns is in doubt for the final leg of Australia's Tri-Nations campaign due to complications with his right knee.
Johns will undergo scans on the troublesome joint today, with the results to determine whether or not the champion No.7 will be available to join his teammates in flying out to England on Thursday.
Johns refused to answer any questions regarding the injury after jetting into Sydney on Saturday morning with the rest of his NSW-based Australian teammates following Friday night's heart-stopping 28-26 win over New Zealand in Auckland.
But Kangaroos team doctor Hugh Hazzard confirmed that Johns was being hampered by the knee.
"He's been struggling with it a bit and we'll be getting him to get it reassessed during the week just to make sure everything's alright," Hazzard said.
"We've got to wait for any investigation and follow-up before we make any decisions like (whether he will go to England) and it's not my decision anyway, it'll be the coaches decision.
"He's struggling with his running and that's a concern.
"For his own health and welfare and safety it might be better if he gets further investigation and gets it treated properly, but I've got no final comment on that until we do some investigations."
The suspect knee is the same one which required a total reconstruction in March last year after Johns ruptured the cruciate ligament in an NRL match against the Eels at Parramatta Stadium.
He failed to take part in some of the Kangaroos training sessions during the squad's build-up to the Tri-Nations, and while he didn't struggle in the two tests against New Zealand, Johns has been below his best.
Johns showed glimpses of what he is capable against the Kiwis on Friday night, but his bid to find his best form wasn't helped when he received a cork to his right leg midway through the first half.
Australian and Newcastle teammate Danny Buderus said he was hopeful Johns would be fit to play the remainder of the tournament, especially as the Kangaroos do not have another match until they meet Great Britain in Wigan on November 5, which is another two weeks away.
"We don't know how he's going to pull up," Buderus said.
"I think he should be right."
"It is concerning, but he's got two weeks off before the next game.
"It's just going to be up to him to see what sort of pain he's going to be in."
One man who could profit from his absence, St George Illawarra pivot Trent Barrett, also said he was confident of Johns' availability.
Barrett, who was sensational off the bench in the unfamiliar role of hooker, would come into calculations along with Scott Prince and Craig Gower to fill the vacant No.7 jumper should Johns be ruled out.
"I'm nearly 100 per cent sure that he'll be okay to go," Barrett said.
"One of my goals is to try and make the starting side so I've just got to keep training and working hard and see what happens," he said.
The Kangaroos squad will now disband before regrouping on Thursday for their flight to England.
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130