KNIGHTS star Kalyn Ponga is likely to miss at least the next two matches after suffering a slight groin tear in the win over the Canberra Raiders in Wagga on Saturday.
In a massive blow for the Knights, Ponga was ruled out on Thursday morning following scans and will miss Friday night's Magic Round clash against the Tigers at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
The fullback is also very likely to miss the match against his former club, the North Queensland Cowboys, next week with coach Adam O'Brien admitting he won't be taking any risks with his star player.
Tex Hoy has been called into the team at fullback for the Tigers game, giving him another big opportunity to showcase his abilities as he looks to nail down a new contract with the club.
"At this stage, it's a minor tear in his groin and when I say minor, we are not willing to push him and turn it into anything more sinister," O'Brien said.
"We are on the back of a few short turnarounds and we are going into a few more so it's the right thing to do for Kalyn and the club at the moment.
"I thought in the game against the Raiders, he was outstanding along with the rest of our spine and that is the disappointing part. But the positive is Tex has trained with the spine all week.
"I can confirm he'll come straight back in. He's played a bit of footy with us now Tex and we'll get on with it."
O'Brien said Ponga suffered a strain against the Raiders with the injury gradually getting slightly worse as this week went by.
"He had some awareness in a tackle in the game but he pulled up actually really good the next day,"he said. "But as the week went on, he still had some awareness there.
"So scanning it, it's very minor at the moment but we don't want it to turn major.
Asked about whether Ponga would definitely miss the Cowboys game as well, O'Brien said he was just worried about the Tigers for now.
"He'll come up to the Sunshine Coast camp with the rest of the squad on Sunday and we'll assess where he is at and go on from there."
SPORTING DECLARATION: Will the Knights get back to being a development club
The loss of Ponga is a major blow with the Knights already without injured halfback Mitchell Pearce.
The Knights got their season back on track with victory over the Raiders last week.
They are 10th on the NRL ladder but are one of five teams with the same number of wins as the seventh-placed Gold Coast.
The Tigers are 15th but one of their only two wins this season came against the Knights in round three.
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