Teason Faavae-Eli may have played his last game of rugby league.
The Macquarie Scorpions back will undergo surgery on Monday to remove a bone growth between his tibia and fibia.
The medical procedure on his left leg will end the 30-year-old’s season and potentially his career, which included a Newcastle Rugby League grand final appearance at McDonald Jones Stadium in September.
“I’ve been playing since I was 14 and never stopped, but you’ve got to hang up the boots sooner or later,” Faavae-Eli said.
“It’s a shame to finish off like that, but the good thing is I get to spend time with the kids while I’m home.
“That will keep me busy for a while and then we’ll just see what happens after that.”
It has been a tough run for Faavae-Eli in recent times with this incident, which will keep him out of work for eight weeks, following a torn hamstring in pre-season.
And in 2015 the Cardiff South father-of-three missed the back half of the season, including the decider, after the medial ligament in his right knee was snapped in an illegal tackle from then Cessnock centre Jared Edwards.
“I haven’t had a full season without any injuries for a while,” Faavae-Eli said.
“I don’t know if my body can cope with it, having those breaks and trying to come back.”
The former Knights reserve grader has played through the pain the last few rounds, but won’t risk it this Saturday against Central Newcastle at Lyall Peacock Field.
“They [the bones] have pretty much fused,” he said.
“The only reason it hasn’t fused properly is because I keep running on it and breaking it every time. It’s been pretty painful.”
David Wood replaces Faavae-Eli on the Macquarie wing while former Knights player Nathan Hinton slots in for five-eighth Scott Briggs, who received a one-game suspension this week for a careless high tackle.
The incident occurred in Saturday’s catch-up match, which the Scorpions lost 18-14 to Central at home.
Jace Delaney remains at hooker for the Butcher Boys before departing overseas while prop Jake Davis was undergoing a fitness test at training on Friday night.
Approaching the midway point of 2017 only two points separate these opponents on the competition ladder with second-placed Central (10) slightly ahead of third-placed Macquarie (8), who have a game in hand.
It’s a similar scenario for Cessnock (6) and South Newcastle (4) – sitting precariously on either side of the top five.
They meet at Townson Oval on Sunday and Goannas coach Steve Kidd has been forced to juggle his line up with hooker Jake Watts (shoulder) and halfback Jake McNamara (ankle).
Watts has undergone surgery and will miss the rest of the season along with fellow rake Josh Dimmock (knee), which has given Oliver Powell an opportunity. Theeran Pearson will be the playmaker.
Lions coach Ben Cross said his squad remains unchanged from a last-start victory.
Elsewhere and dummy-half Luke Huth will make his first grade debut for Lakes on Saturday when they tackle the Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground. The hosts welcome back two-thirds of their front-row via Terence Seu Seu and Michael Steel.
And at Harker Oval on Sunday, Maitland have kept rookie winger Zac Pursehouse and rested Jayden Butterfield while leaders Western Suburbs have switched Willis Alatini (work commitments) with Mao Uta, who returns in the No.2 jersey.