South Sydney's faltering premiership campaign may have suffered another mortal blow with fears halfback Adam Reynolds may have again broken his jaw in Friday night's 30-8 loss to the Broncos in Brisbane.
Reynolds was led from the field in the 56th minute following a hit by Adam Blair for which the Broncos prop was placed on report but showed tremendous courage to return 10 minutes later and play out the remainder of the game.
Grimacing through gritted teeth as he left the dressing sheds, Reynolds declined to speak to the media as celebrations of his 100th game in the NRL took a sour turn.
Playing in only his third game of the season after having his jaw broken in Round 1 against the Roosters, Reynolds will have scans on Saturday morning to ascertain the extent of the injury and the Rabbitohs can ill afford more negative news.
Prop George Burgess (hip) and back-rower Kyle Turner (elbow) were ruled out after Thursday's captain's run, centre Hymel Hunt lasted just seven minutes on Friday night before suffering a suspected pectoral injury, John Sutton is at least 10 weeks away from a return and Zane Musgrove will be lucky to play again this season.
Another extended layoff for Reynolds would be disastrous for a team that has now lost five of its past six games and after the game coach Michael Maguire was fearing the worst.
"Adam Reynolds may have a broken jaw from a certain tackle so we'll have to wait and see what happens there," Maguire said.
"He has to get a scan tomorrow (Saturday) but it's not looking great.
"At the end of the day if he's got another broken jaw he obviously collected him in the head. Simple as that."
Former Storm premiership winner Dane Nielsen made his Rabbitohs debut against the Broncos and said he wasn't surprised to see Reynolds return to the field for the final 14 minutes of the game.
"Hopefully he hasn't done any more to his jaw but obviously wait and see after some scans," Nielsen said.
"He's a tough little fella and he obviously plays above his weight.
"He's the smallest player on our team and he plays tough week in and week out and that was his 100th game so I'm sure he's spewing that he might have copped an injury but we'll wait and see what happens."
Speculation when the final teams were announced an hour before kick-off was that George Burgess had been dropped for some poor displays in recent weeks but Maguire said he had been battling a hip injury for a month that prevented him from playing to his potential.
"George has been struggling with an injury for probably the last month – people don't really know that," Maguire said.
"People have been having fair pot shots on how he's been playing but I know and the team knows that he's been putting his hand up for the team when he hasn't been able to get to 100 per cent.
"There are a lot of things going on inside our team at the moment and there is a lot of fight around this organisation. For him to do that, he just got to a period [on Thursday] at training where it just got too sore.
"I felt [resting him] was the right thing to do for tonight's game but if he is able to come back next week he'll put his hand up I know that because he is very passionate about this club."