Hull KR forward Rhys Lovergrove is likely to miss the opening month of the 2011 season through injury.
The 23-year-old Australian damaged knee ligaments in training earlier this week. His absence will be keenly felt with star signing Willie Mason still awaiting permission to enter the country.
However, the good news for Rovers coach Justin Morgan is that the injury does not require surgery.
“The damage could have been a lot worse, but Rhys could miss the first month of the season,” Morgan told the Hull Daily Mail.
Lovegrove has been one of the club’s most reliable performers since joining the club from St George in 2007.
The injury rules Lovegrove out of Sunday’s friendly against Huddersfield Giants at the Galpharm Stadium.
Rovers have named a strong squad for the match and young prop Richard Beaumont will be eager to prove that he is capable of filling the void left by Lovegrove.