Promising young Rabbitohs utility Adam Douehi had an unhappy 20th birthday, receiving the news his breakout season was over due to an ACL injury but his teammates have declared the budding star will be back better than ever next year.
The Rabbitohs on Monday morning confirmed Douehi would go under the knife to have the knee repaired next week before beginning the long rehab process with a view to returning early next season.
In-form flanker Robert Jennings will miss at least the next four weeks with a hamstring strain while skipper Greg Inglis returned to skills work after breaking his thumb a month ago and could be in line for the round 23 trip to Brisbane.
"Obviously he's quite down about the injury but we're all here for him, we're all supporting him," said centre Hymel Hunt of Douehi.
"We've got a good rehab crew here, our medical staff here is unreal. He'll be back soon, he's got a bright future, he's only 20 years old. He just had his 20th birthday yesterday (Sunday).
"There are big things coming for that kid."
Five-eighth Cody Walker also backed the recently re-signed Lebanon international to bounce back.
"Unfortunately Douehi did his ACL on the weekend [which is] obviously shattering," Walker said.
"We're shattered for him. This is a small hurdle in what's going to be a great career, he's got great support with his family and great support from the club so he'll get through this, I know he will."
Rabbitohs head of high performance Paul Devlin said in a club video Douehi had received the worst possible news when MRI results returned but would benefit from having strong mentors around him.
"It's a terrible disappointment for him, he's been a fantastic trainer this year," Devlin said.
"MRIs have confirmed he's got an ACL injury so he'll have that repaired next Tuesday but the flipside of that once it's repaired he starts on the rehab journey, he's got some great mentors here… Greg Inglis has obviously come through the rehab journey recently and been absolutely outstanding so he's got some role models here."
While Inglis himself won't take the field for this Friday's blockbuster against fellow heavyweights the Roosters, he impressed his teammates at Monday morning's skills session, looking fit and fast after a short layoff due to a broken thumb.
"Fantastic, very impressive, he's back into skills this morning, training really well and we can't wait to see him back out on the field again," Devlin said of the captain.
Hunt is currently keeping Inglis's left centre spot warm but is likely to be reshuffled elsewhere in the backline when Inglis does return given a host of injuries to the likes of Douehi and Jennings plus Richie Kennar's departure on a Mormon mission.
"He's one of our leaders of the team, I'm not looking over my shoulder [regarding my position], it's more mentoring," Hunt said.
"He's so good for us younger boys, always there helping us. Today he was looking very very fast, he's looking sharp, very fit. Greggy is Greggy, he's a legend of the game."