KNIGHTS playmaker Mitchell Pearce looks set for an extended stint on the sidelines after suffering a suspected torn pectoral in Sunday's 22-13 loss to St George Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium.
He could be joined by pack leader David Klemmer, who battled on after suffering a 60th-minute knee injury and could also be facing charges from the match-review committee.
Pearce missed a tackle on Dragons forward Tariq Sims in the 25th minute and immediately grabbed for his chest and signalled to the bench for treatment.
In obvious distress, he was replaced soon afterwards.
The champion playmaker tore a pectoral in his first season with the Knights, 2018, and missed nine games after surgery.
Pearce's setback is another body blow for the Knights, who are already without Kalyn Ponga, Bradman Best, Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Edrick Lee because of injuries.
Adding to Newcastle's concern, Klemmer was placed on report for two separate incidents in the first half, an alleged elbow on Blake Lawrie in a scrum, and a late tackle on Corey Norman.
Knights fullback Tex Hoy was also replaced at half-time with a hamstring problem.
With Pearce and Hoy out of action, Kurt Mann moved to fullback and Mitch Barnett to five-eighth, despite the presence of Blake Green on the bench for his first game since undergoing a knee reconstruction last year.
The Knights led 7-6 at the break, with a Mann field goal in the 40th minute all that separated the two sides.
The Dragons appeared to have scored first through winger Mikaele Ravalawa, only for the video referee to rule there had been a knock-on in the lead-up.
Newcastle made the visitors pay almost immediately when Pearce hoisted a bomb and winger Cody Ramsey fumbled, gifting a try to centre Gehamat Shibasaki.
Newcastle led until the 32nd minute, when Hoy spilled a high kick and forward Trent Merrin scooped up the dregs, dummied and scored.
The Knights extended their lead in the 48th minute, when bench prop Josh King crashed onto a short ball, spun out of an attempted tackle and scored just his second NRL try.
Barnett's conversion made it 13-6.
The Dragons responded four minutes later when Tariq Sims steamed into a gap and scored against his former club.
Newcastle lost another player in the 56th minute when Mann was knocked senseless trying to tackle Ravalawa.
Knights forward Jacob Saifiti was penalised and placed on report for his role in a melee that erupted while Mann was on the turf.
Green entered the game in the 56th minute and his return could hardly have been more timely, in the absence of Pearce.
Four minutes later, Sims charged down a Green clearing kick, regathered and raced away to score between the posts, to stun the 21,770-strong crowd.
Zac Lomax's goal gave the visitors an 18-13 lead.
In the 67th minute, former Knights lower-grade centre Brayden Wiliame scored, increasing the Dragons' lead to 22-13.
There was controversy in the 75th minute, after Knights winger Hymel Hunt appeared to have scored in the corner, only to be denied by a forward-pass ruling.
It was Newcastle's second consecutive defeat at home this season, and the Dragons' 18th win from 23 games in Newcastle.