Roosters flyer Joseph Suaalii is facing an early end to his debut campaign with a foot injury requiring season-ending surgery and a five-month lay-off.
Suaalii, still two weeks short of his 18th birthday, will go under the knife later this week after going down at training leading into last week's clash with Canterbury.
The youngster had been set to travel with the Roosters to the Sunshine Coast until scans confirmed a Lisfranc injury to Suaalii's foot on Tuesday.
He initial recovery timeframe has him sidelined for the rest of 2021 and targeting a return in the new year.
He joins a lengthy injury list at the club that already includes Luke Keary and Lindsay Collins (ACL ruptures) and retired champions Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend (concussion) and Brett Morris (ACL).
Prop Siosiua Taukeiaho will also be absent for Saturday's clash with North Queensland in Townsville due to a slight hamstring niggle.
Roosters get around Suaalii after he scores his first NRL try
Fletcher Baker takes his place in Trent Robinson's 17 after serving an isolation period following NSW Health advice that he was a close contact of COVID-19 case.
While Suaalii is the latest addition to the Roosters eye-watering casualty ward, the club's injury and suspension woes have been eased of late by the returns of Drew Hutchison (ribs), Victor Radley (suspension) and Billy Smith (shoulder).
Smith's return especially offers like-for-like cover for Suaalii after a wretched two years ruined by two serious knee injuries and a shoulder reconstruction.
The 21-year-old had initially been touted to replace Latrell Mitchell in the Roosters backline at the end of 2019, only to play his first game since then last weekend against Canterbury, scoring with his first touch.