Jets assistant coach Clayton Zane remains confident in Newcastle's squad depth to reach the A-League finals and Asian Champions League group stage, but last year's grand finalists won't "underestimate" the loss of Jason Hoffman to a season-ending injury.
The versatile 30-year-old, who notched up his 200th A-League game last week, is expected to undergo surgery on Monday and will be sidelined for up to five months.
Hoffman revealed the extent of his damage, a rare dislocated tendon, on Thursday following an appointment with a specialist in Sydney just 24 hours earlier.
"It's a big loss," Zane said after training at Ray Watt Oval on Thursday.
"He gives us really good physical capacity in wide areas and he's very versatile so coming into the back stretch of the season it's not ideal that we lose a player of such stature."
Hoffman sustained the injury during a routine training run on Sunday.
"It was an injury we didn't foresee," Zane said.
"He went down and there was nobody around him so it wasn't even a contact injury."
He has been replaced by Joe Champness in the Jets' 18-man squad for Tuesday's sudden-death meeting with title holders Kashima Antlers in Japan.
He was already suspended for Friday night's crucial A-League clash against Melbourne City at home. Last start he received his fifth yellow card for the season.
"We've sort of got the areas covered that he has filled, but in saying that we don't underestimate what we lose by Jason being out," Zane said.