Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker faces an uncertain future due to an ongoing knee issue that's threatening his record-breaking career.
Croker is set to miss at least the next two games, including the Raiders' clash with the Manly Sea Eagles at Lang Park on Friday night, but he might not play again this year.
The 30-year-old might need surgery on the chronic condition, where he has bone on bone in his knee, to potentially save his career.
That would be a cruel end to one of the Raiders' most loyal servants, who has made a habit of breaking records during his 291 NRL game career.
He recently overtook Johnathan Thurston to move into third place on the all-time point-scorers list, with just Cameron Smith and Hazem El Masri in front of him.
Croker is also the leading try scorer in Green Machine history.
His knee, along with a shoulder injury, kept him on the sidelines for two-and-a-half months earlier this season.
Further complicating matters is the fact the NRL players have restricted access to treatment while they're in Queensland, limiting Croker's options before the end of the season.
He signed a four-year extension last year, which runs through until the end of the 2024 season.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said Croker had a platelet-rich plasma injection on Friday, following their game against the Melbourne Storm.
It's an option that avoids surgery and one they used earlier in the season, but he needs to rest his knee following the injection - which leads to a loss of conditioning.
Stuart said surgery was something that had been discussed with the Raiders' medical staff and they would do what's best when deciding whether Croker plays again this year.
"His knee's pulled up a little sore again. He's had a PRP injection as late as last Friday and it's just pulled up a little bit sore because of the loads, and I'm giving him this week off," he said.
"Not [having] surgery at this moment, but it's something we speak about as a small group with [physiotherapist Konrad Schultz], our doctor Greg MacLeod.
"It's something we take into great consideration, the physical welfare of Jarrod's knee.
"It's a matter of sitting down and going through it with our medical advice.
"It's common knowledge that Jarrod has an ongoing knee issue and it's something we take in great consideration in regards to the care for him physically and long term."
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The upside of Croker's absences has been the development of the Raiders' young outside backs.
Sebastian Kris, Semi Valemei, Matthew Timoko and Harley Smith-Shields have all benefited from game time this season.
Kris was named to replace Croker in the centres after missing a week due to concussion.
While last year it was the Raiders' middle forwards who were struck down by injury, this season it's been the outside backs.
Croker, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (neck), Bailey Simonsson (toe) and Semi Valemei (larynx) have all been sidelined, opening the door for others to step up.
Nicoll-Klokstad's been named on the bench to face Manly, providing some experience and depth in the run home to finals as the Raiders look to squeeze themselves into the top eight with just three games remaining.
"We're fortunate we have that development underneath our senior players," Stuart said.
"Our middles were a great concern through injury last year.
"This year it's been a little bit of our outside backs where we've lost a few numbers and the younger players have got some really good game time and experience and that's a great help to the future of the club - such as the announcement of signing Harley and Trey Mooney over the last couple of days.
"We're keeping our eye on the future as much as trying to get on with a very difficult season this year.
"We don't take any intensity or focus off today, where we've got to try and beat Manly, but we do still need to have an eye on the future."
NRL ROUND 23
Friday: Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles at Lang Park, 6pm.
Raiders squad: 1. Jordan Rapana, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Sebastian Kris, 4. Matt Timoko, 5. Harley Smith-Shields, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Joe Tapine, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead (c), 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Matt Frawley. Reserves: 18. Dunamis Lui, 20. Elijah Anderson.
Sea Eagles squad: 19. Tevita Funa, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Morgan Harper, 4. Moses Suli, 5. Reuben Garrick, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Martin Taupau, 11. Haumole Olakau'atu, 12. Josh Schuster, 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14. Dylan Walker, 15. Karl Lawton, 16. Curtis Sironen, 17. Toafofoa Sipley. Reserves: 18. Jack Gosiewski, 20. Kurt De Luis.