Boom young centre Bradman Best's injury dramas have returned to haunt him with the Knights star potentially facing another long stint on the sideline after limping from the field during Newcastle's 24-10 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Best suffered the ankle injury midway through the first half of Saturday's game after slipping and being caught awkwardly in a Latrell Mitchell tackle. He remained on the field but was forced off just after halftime.
The teenage centre had scans late yesterday with the club sweating on the results, desperately hoping he can avoid surgery for a syndesmosis sprain that could keep him out for six to eight weeks.
His injury comes as the Knights prepare to welcome back Mitchell Pearce, David Klemmer, Hymel Hunt and possibly Kalyn Ponga for Saturday's clash against the Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"We've got our fingers crossed for Braddy, hoping it's not too bad and that he won't have to have surgery," coach Adam O'Brien told the Newcastle Herald.
"He's had no luck there with the way he slipped and got his foot caught and it's just disappointing for him and the club."
This latest setback continues Best's wretched run with injuries since he made his NRL debut for the Knights at the end of 2019. He played the final three games that season without incident but since then, out of a possible 35 top grade games in 2020 and now this season, he has missed 14 of them.
In 2020, he played just 11 of 21 games, missing the opening two rounds while recovering from a similar left ankle syndesmosis and a foot fracture before a right ankle syndesmosis kept him out for a further seven matches.
He returned a week prior to the semifinals against the Titans but went in for surgery as soon as the season was done. It was his third surgery in less than 12 months.
Best hasn't fared a whole lot better this year with an elbow hyperextension suffered at training ruling him out for three games earlier in the season.
He also missed the Knights' round 11 loss to the Cowboys in Townsville with a slight hamstring strain he picked up during the Magic Round loss to the West Tigers in Brisbane.
Best's injury woes have been mirrored across the club with the Knights having already used 30 players in the NRL over the opening 14 rounds of the premiership.
Of the other clubs, the hardest hit has been Brisbane with the Broncos using 31 players although form has been a factor. The Sydney Roosters, Manly, Cowboys and Warriors  and Melbourne Storm  have also had their injury issues.
Parramatta has been the least affected with coach Brad Arthur calling on just 24 players to date while Penrith have used only 25.
To make matters tougher for the Knights, their highest paid stars, Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce, have played just nine games between them this season with Ponga making five appearances and Pearce just four. Significantly, they are yet to appear on the field together in 2021.
Only four of the 30 players O'Brien has called on - Jayden Brailey, Mitch Barnett, Connor Watson and Enari Tuala - have managed to play in all 14 matches.
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