LACHLAN Fitzgibbon will be sidelined for the start of the 2021 season and joins a growing casualty ward at the Newcastle Knights after undergoing shoulder surgery this week.
Fitzgibbon now misses at least next month's NRL opener against the Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium alongside fellow regular starters fullback Kalyn Ponga (shoulder) and five-eighth Blake Green (knee).
Halfback Mitchell Pearce is expected to be ready for round one despite recently undergoing an operation to repair thumb surgery.
The Knights released a statement on Thursday saying Fitzgibbon had complications from a previous injury.
"Newcastle Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon has this week undergone surgery on his shoulder," the club's statement read.
"Fitzgibbon went under the knife to repair a complication from a previous injury.
"The talented forward will be monitored through rehabilitation to determine an exact return date and will not be available for selection to start the 2021 season."
Newcastle have trials against local premiers the Goannas at Cessnock next weekend and the Storm in Melbourne on February 27.
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