Sheffield Eagles forward Liam Higgins is to have major knee surgery and is facing a season on the sidelines.
It adds to the Eagles worrying injury list ahead of the kick-off at Owlerton Stadium in February. Alex Szostak will not start the season with the back rower needing an operation on a shoulder injury.
Former Castleford, Hull and Wakefield prop Higgins missed out on the Eagles Championship Grand Final victory after the injury in the play-offs.
“Liam’s not had the best of luck, he did the knee in the semi-final and the initial thoughts were that it wasn’t as bad but it’s a full reconstruction and it’s a minimum of six to nine months off,” said assistant coach David Larder.
“It’s a big loss for us but if all goes well Liam could be back towards the end of the season.”
Higgins and Szostak join prop Eddie Battye and centre or back rower Duane Straugheir on the injury list after surgery.
The squad report back from a festive break on Friday night.