Penrith's horrific late-season run of injuries looks to have snared another casualty after hooker James Segeyaro limped off with an ankle injury in their 23-22 win over the Cowboys on Monday night.
Segeyaro's foot was caught in an awkward position after trying to offload in the 68th minute and after attempting to play on, the in-form rake eventually came off the field and never returned.
The 23-year-old will go for scans on Tuesday, with Panthers coach Ivan Cleary hopeful his star hooker will be cleared of any serious damage.
"[We're] not too sure. He broke an ankle quite badly a couple of years ago with the Cowboys. It might have something to do with that. Hopefully it's not too bad. But we're not going to know until tomorrow," Cleary said post-game.
The loss of Segeyaro for the season would be yet another savage blow to the Panthers, who have already lost the services of regular first-graders Peter Wallace, Elijah Taylor, Brent Kite, Tyrone Peachey, and Bryce Cartwright.
The former Cowboy had been enjoying a breakout season since taking over the starting role mid-season.
"We haven't given up on him yet. We're probably due for a bit of luck in the injury stakes," Cleary said.
"We've got a fair back-up in Kevin Kingston as well. Our depth has been tested the last few weeks, or right throughout the season. We're probably due for a bit of luck there, so fingers crossed."
Stand-in skipper Jamie Soward, who has been enormous in Penrith's three-game winning streak, said the team had stepped up in the absence of their injured stars.
"They've been out for a while. We're not going to answer a question on it every week about injuries. We know they're there," Soward said.
"The guys are disappointed, but they'd be more disappointed if we weren't playing for each other and playing for 80 minutes. So their injuries are easier [to cope with] when you go and play as a team. They'd be getting some enjoyment out of that."
Penrith's next test will be another Monday night game at home against the fifth-placed Melbourne Storm, who have won four of their past five games.