Sharks skipper Paul Gallen came off with a syndesmosis injury in the first half of their loss to the Titans on Monday night Credit: NRL Photos/Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos/Grant Trouville.
NSW and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen could face a fight to be fit for May's State of Origin opener in May after suffering a potentially serious ankle injury.
Gallen will undergo scans on Tuesday to assess a syndesmosis problem that saw him limp out of Monday's clash with the Gold Coast, but could face up to four months on the sidelines.
In 2009, Sydney Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello sustained a similar injury in a round-two game against Canberra and was out of action until round 20 following surgery.
NSW centre Michael Jennings missed eight games, including two Origin clashes when playing for Penrith in 2011.
But Gallen will be hoping he can emulate Ben Barba's return after five weeks last season when he came back in time to play in Canterbury's finals clash with Newcastle.
The 32-year-old was helped from the field towards the end of the first half after immediately signalling he was in some pain to the Sharks bench having been held up in a tackle by Titans duo Luke Bailey and Matt White.
The injury ruined a milestone evening for the back-rower, who was playing his 233rd NRL match for the club, moving past David Peachey as the second most-capped Sharks player of all-time.
Gallen was presented with his shirt pre-game by Sharks great Andrew Ettingshausen, who holds the record of 328 appearances.
The Test star endured an injury-hit 2013 campaign, playing just 16 NRL games and missing the State of Origin decider in July after failing to recover from a foot problem.
He joins an already crowded treatment room at the Sharks, who are also without Todd Carney, Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan.