Gold Coast Titans forward Ryan James has discussed the "devastating" revelation he'd suffered a recurrence of the ACL injury that sidelined him for most of the 2019 season.
The star prop, who had been preparing to return to football with the Indigenous All Stars this month, suffered the injury at Titans training on Friday.
The Titans released a statement late on Friday evening confirming James had likely suffered another suspected rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament in a collision mishap at Cbus Super Stadium.
"It is obviously pretty devastating, after all that hard work, time away from the team and time off the field to be back to square one again," James said on Saturday.
"It was hard enough to have to watch on last year and feel helpless while the team struggled.
"This year, I was looking forward to playing again and being part of a good year with the Titans after a really good off-season with the club. Now I will be missing that as well.
"It was more a shock than anything. I had been really cautious and deliberate with every part of the rehab, and I was really happy with how it had responded. I had told more than one person that I was at the stage where I was not even thinking about the knee anymore at training.
"It was moving freely and I felt really confident in it. It just felt back to normal.
"When it happened, there was a bit of pain, but not the same as the last time it went. It felt different, so I was hopeful it might have been a different issue, or minor damage relating to the surgery. But the scans on Friday came back with the worst news.
"I will be back to see the specialists on Monday for more scans, and to discuss what my options are from here. Once we find out what needs to be done, I can get to work again.
"It will take a while to absorb, I think. It is disappointing, especially for my wife and my family. But the love and support I have had from them and everyone at the club has made it easier to deal with."
It is tragic luck for the 28-year-old, who only told NRL.com on Thursday his knee was at "100 percent" as he eyed a return to the field for the All Stars clash on February 22.
"Everyone at the Titans shared Ryan's pain today," Titans head of performance and culture Mal Meninga said in a statement.
"He is obviously a hugely popular part of this club, and earned even more respect with the positive way he applied himself to his recovery from the original injury last year, without ever once getting down or feeling sorry for himself.
"We all desperately wanted Ryan to be back on the field and back to his best this season – a goal he had set himself, and deserved to achieve. This news is obviously devastating to Ryan and his family, but also to his friends and colleagues here at the Titans."