Dynamic fullback Kalyn Ponga is facing the prospect of having to battle through the remainder of the season with a painful sternum injury as the Knights walk a finals' tightrope over the next six weeks.
Ponga carried the injury into last Friday night's 28-8 loss to the Sydney Roosters and was well below his best and not his usual influential self with his sternum problem clearly hampering him.
It's understood he had a pain-killing injection prior to the warm-up but was then forced to have another just before kick-off when the initial one didn't have the desired effect.
He played out the 80 minutes but his over-all involvement and willingness to take the line on himself was well down on what he regularly produces.
Few people outside of the Knights playing group and coaching staff were aware of Ponga's injury, which he suffered during the Melbourne Storm game in a controversial collision with Storm prop Tui Kamikamica.
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At the time, Ponga laid prone on the ground after he was struck by Kamikamica's shoulder with most people, including the independent doctor working at the game, believing he had been concussed.
He was forced off the field for a HIA, which he passed, but the doctor would not allow him to go back on because of the protocols around motionless players staying down.
As it turned out, Ponga may not have returned anyway due to the damage to his sternum with the injury rated one of the most painful in the game.
How the injury affects him and whether it settles down could have a major bearing on the Knights' finals hopes.
As it stands, the Knights are in 11th spot on 16 points, two points from the eighth-placed Sharks who are on 18 points along with the Canberra Raiders [9th], who the Knights play on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium. A loss to the Raiders would put them four points out of the top eight with five games left.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien said Ponga's training would be "managed" this week to get him in a position to play against Canberra.
"There is an issue their with KP and it was hard to watch a guy who you know is being hampered physically out there like he was the other night," O'Brien said.
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"There was no-one more disappointed than he was afterwards. He had to deal with his sternum and there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders with our two young halves in the game as well.
"We've got a longer turnaround and we'll manage his week and get him through it. We obviously need time on the field together to get a bit of flow but it's tough when guys are busted and can't train and you've got to get them up physically to play.
"As far as training goes, the priority will be to make sure he is physically right. He'll still be training but we'll just keep him out of contact and hope it settles down a bit. The number one thing for me is we get him to a position where he is capable of producing the really good stuff he regularly does for us when he is right."