Knights enforcer Mitch Barnett is expected to make a full recovery despite initial fears his playing career was under threat after he suffered a serious neck injury during his side's win over Wests Tigers three weeks ago.
The backrower underwent surgery in a Sydney hospital on Monday and faces a three month recovery period after the injury left him without any feeling in his right arm.
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He is the second Knights player from the clash to have required surgery with hooker Jayden Brailey also recovering after undergoing a knee reconstruction late last week.
While Brailey managed to play through the whole game after having his knee strapped at halftime, Barnett was in obvious pain as he was assisted from the field after playing the opening 32 minutes of the Knights' 42-24 win at Leichhardt Oval.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien suggested after the game Barnett may have suffered a "burner" in his shoulder but at the time, was unsure of the severity with suggestions he may have also been suffering neck pain.
The premiership was suspended the day after the Tigers game and since then, the Knights football department has been stood down with the players in isolation and officials haven't spoken about the extent of the backrower's injury. But the Newcastle Herald has learned there were genuine fears held for Barnett's playing future prior to surgery, which was deemed a success.
It's understood his loss of feeling was caused by bulging discs in his neck impinging on nerves running down the length of his arm.
He underwent what is called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion procedure in hospital that included a bone graft to relieve the stress on the nerves and return feeling to his arm.
Barnett's manager Mandy Hull confirmed the operation had been a success.
"He's not too bad now and he had the feeling back in his arm as soon as the operation was completed so it was a relief for everyone," she said.
"He had the surgery on Monday and spent at least a few days in intensive care.
"There were no guarantees given going into the operation that it would be a complete success so it was great to get good news."
Barnett is expected to head to his father's property at Wingham to recuperate over the next week before starting rehabilitation.
It's understood he faces 12 weeks out and could be back playing again this season if the premiership gets back underway at some stage and his recovery goes to plan.
Meanwhile, the NRL players' union have revealed they're willing to consider all the game's stars living in a bubble together to ensure the 2020 season can restart.
The NRL have now shifted their attention to getting back on the field, after a pay deal was brokered between them and the Rugby League Players Association on Thursday.
Under the terms of the agreement, players will receive their wages for April and May, but will not be paid for the following five months if the competition doesn't resume due to the coronavirus.
But with the financial survival of the clubs and long-term position of the NRL banking on a return, all parties are desperate for the show to somehow go on.
The most feasible current option includes players being taken to a remote location, and shipped or bussed to grounds to play without any contact with the public.
Gladstone has previously been floated as one option while Tangalooma Island Resort just off Brisbane shapes as another.
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