Towering prop Darcy Lussick leaves a massive hole in the Manly Sea Eagles line-up but his teammates are relieved his absence is not longer than first feared.
There were concerns that when Lussick limped off Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night, that the front-rower could face a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
However, scans have revealed he could be back within a month.
In his captaincy debut on Saturday, he was taken off by medical staff in the opening minutes after he suffered a left ankle injury in his first hit-up of the game.
The prognosis is four to six weeks on the sidelines from the high ankle sprain - a minor setback for the front rower.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get back as quick as I can,” he said.
“I still am ready for a big 2018 and hopefully I only miss one game. I had a pretty good pre-season, I think and I’ve been injury free, obviously until this but I am looking forward to a good year this year.”
Lussick will sit out this Saturday’s trial in Gosford against the Sydney Roosters and is hopeful of returning after Manly face the Newcastle Knights in round one.
Manly teammate Jake Trbojevic said Lussick’s earlier-than-expected return date was great news for the club.
"It didn't look good but it's great to hear it may only be four to five weeks, although ankles can be frustrating,” he said.
"That's a good result for him and us. He'll obviously have to manage it as syndesmosis can hang around for a while, so he might have to manage it for the whole season.
"If he works hard in rehab, he might only miss round one so that'd be a great result."
Sea Eagles forward Addin Fonua-Blake described Lussick as “one of the real leaders in our forward pack”.
"Darcy trained so well all pre-seaon. He was in good shape. It was just so unfortunate to get a tackle that went wrong.
"Some people aren't lucky. He's going to come back bigger and better.”