St Helens scrum-half Matty Smith holds no grudges over the tackle that forced him to sit out the first two months of the season.
The 29-year-old England international rejoined his home-town club from Wigan at the end of the 2016 Grand Final but broke his leg in a pre-season friendly with Widnes in December.
Widnes prop Manase Manuokafoa was banned for two matches for the tackle and subsequently picked up a knee injury in training but Smith insists there is no poetic justice from the fact that he got back playing first.
Smith, who made his comeback in Saints’ 31-6 win over Warrington last Friday, said: “I don’t have any malice towards Manuokafoa, I would never wish him an injury.”
The incident, which occurred just as Smith was about to be withdrawn from the action, infuriated St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham at the time but Smith is happy that there was no intent from Manuokafoa.
“The tackle was just a bit clumsy, a result of tiredness,” he said. “It was the 39th minute of the first half and we had probably dominated the game.
“He’s come in and just been a bit clumsy. From my point of view, there was certainly no intent with it.
“I know he’s done his leg now and I wish him all the best in his recovery.
“From my point of view, I’m just happy to be back.
“Thankfully it wasn’t too serious. Some people are obviously out for a lot longer than I was. The surgeon did a fantastic job and was I really looked after.”
Smith has reported no ill-effects on his first competitive appearance since helping Wigan to their Grand Final win over Warrington in October, and is looking forward to going up against his old club Salford on Thursday.
“I felt a bit rusty but the leg feels fine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saints could be close to full strength for the first time this year with full-back Jonny Lomax set to return for the game at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Lomax, who made his England debut against France in October and started all three matches in the Four Nations Series, has missed his club’s last three games with a knee injury.
“Jonny trained with us today and got through fine so we’re really hopeful he’ll be fit,” Cunningham said.