Castleford half-back Luke Gale will miss most – if not all – of the 2019 season with a ruptured Achilles.
The former Steve Prescott Man of Steel suffered the Achilles injury in training last Saturday.
Gale had been recovering from having surgery earlier in the off-season, having only played 15 games last term due to a knee injury. The England international will continue to see specialists.
Speaking at Castleford’s media day, Tigers’ director of rugby Jon Wells said: “We can confirm that Luke has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, which was suspected over the weekend.
“He’s been to see a specialist today (Tuesday) and they will determine the length of the injury. For those that know about these types of injuries, they are fairly serious. He’s likely to miss a big chunk of the season. To say exactly how long (he’ll be out for) currently, we don’t know, the specialist will determine that. He’s booked in for surgery on Thursday.
“The best-case scenario for Luke would be that he’s only ruled out for 6 months. The worst case would be for him to be out for 9 to 12 months.
“We’re gutted for him as he’s a key and influential part of our squad, a former Man of Steel and England international. It goes without saying that he will be sorely missed.”
If Gale is out for nine months, he will miss the full season and Wells also admitted that the club will assess their options regarding recruitment to fill in for Gale.
Daryl Powell’s side have still got a plenty of options in the halves though – Jake Trueman, Ben Roberts, Jamie Ellis and Cory Aston can all play there.