STAR Knights signing Kai Pearce-Paul looks certain to miss the entire pre-season and the opening rounds of 2024 after confirmation that he will need surgery to repair a toe injury.
Pearce-Paul linked with the Knights earlier this month after helping Wigan win the Super League grand final, having signed a two-season deal with the NRL club last December.
Upon arrival in Newcastle, Pearce-Paul underwent a physical assessment at which it was revealed he had been playing with injury for much of 2023. There have been reports that he needed painkilling injections to get through games.
The 22-year-old England international had been earmarked as a replacement for long-serving back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who has joined Super League club Warrington.
But given that the Knights don't expect him to be available until "in the early rounds" of next year, young tyro Dylan Lucas might benefit from the inside running.
Lucas, 23, has shown glimpses of class in his seven-game NRL career. Brodie Jones and new signing Jed Cartwright, from South Sydney, will also be in the mix.
MORE IN SPORT: