Roosters hooker Sam Verrills made an extraordinary apology to Trent Robinson for letting down his teammates after playing with a "scary" semi-detached retina that threatened to permanently limit his vision.
His recovery from the "left-field" injury that joins a long list at the club could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks after he underwent successful surgery on Tuesday night to "glue back down" his retina.
The young rake has endured a wretched run, recently returning from last year's season-ending ACL rupture, only to have the eye issue emerge last week before the win over Newcastle.
Verrills cannot recall any on-field incident that led to the blurred vision he played through last week. His eye operation means rookie Ben Marshcke will slot back into the No.9 jersey against Parramatta on Friday.
Robinson is expecting an answer on the club's bargain-basement offer to All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara next week, with a verdict on his code switch to come after he plays a semi-final for his Japanese rugby outfit over the weekend.
Robbo wary of Eels
In the meantime Robinson couldn't help but chuckle at Verrills's selfless response to his bizarre injury, which came after the devastating loss of Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins to ACL ruptures, giving them the best part of $4 million in sidelined talent.
"He apologised to us, that's what Sam did," Robinson said on Wednesday.
"He felt bad because he's had the stop-start start to the season and he feels like he's let the crew down. A lot of guys do at this point in time.
Eels v Roosters - Round 9
"He had blurry vision 10 days ago but there was no incident and then he played on the weekend.
"He had a semi-detached retina and as far as I know he had to get that glued back down to try and return all of his eye sight and get rid of the blurred vision, but also there's also the small risk of losing some partial bits there.
"That was one from left field we didn't see coming. That was tough [on Tuesday].
"We get over the initial parts [the Morris and Collins injuries] and then get a phone call about Sam Verrills who you've been excited about having come back in and play an integral role and you get a call like that from left field.
"It sits you back down again. We've still got a team to get ready and move on."
Robinson confirmed captain James Tedesco had fully recovered from his own concussion issues and would take his place at fullback against the Eels, with Joseph Suaalii set to be 18th man once more.
Magic Moments: Tedesco takes apart Raiders
Co-captain Boyd Cordner also remains on track to return from his extended concussion lay-off around round 14, after the Roosters mid-season bye.
That would mean Cordner has sat out the minimum 12 games required for the Roosters' representative salary cap relief bid to be served.
The club's application for a maximum $350,000 dispensation remains yet to be approved by the NRL for that reason.
Robinson refused to call time on Morris's career following his devastating injury, though acknowledged that at the age of 34 and facing a second ACL recovery, the end looms large.
The one-percenters: Highlighting hidden effort areas
He said the Roosters would not look to the market for outside back and front-row replacements at this stage, instead looking to their next crop of youngsters – chief among them Suaalii – to fill the void.
"My first answer [replacements] comes from here, there's a little bit of room but there's not a lot," Robinson said.
"And I'm not looking for that, I'm looking for guys to step forward.
"There's about four or five guys who haven't played who I'm looking at to step up again this year, so we're sort of in that position where we want to accelerate the learning of those guys whether they're on the wing or in the front row."