Two weeks off in the coming month may well be music to the Knights’ ears as Newcastle officials await scans to confirm the extent of Jamie Buhrer’s knee injury.
Newcastle host Melbourne on Sunday and the Bulldogs a fortnight later on June 30, but in between have a competition-wide weekend clear for Origin II followed by a round-17 bye next month.
This will provide several wounded Knights players with a key period to rest and recover without missing as many matches.
Buhrer was expected to see specialists on Tuesday after being added to the the NRL club’s growing casualty ward in Saturday night’s 18-16 loss to the Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium.
After playing just eight minutes off the bench, Buhrer was assisted from the field approaching the half-hour mark and early indications were a torn ACL in his right knee.
The 28-year-old, in the midst of contract negotiations at the Knights, has suffered the injury twice before during his career and could potentially miss the rest of the 2018 season.
Luke Yates was 18th man for Newcastle on the weekend and shapes as the most likely replacement for Buhrer in round 15 when team lists are released on Tuesday afternoon.
Newcastle centre Nathan Ross, however, may still be another game away returning from a groin injury that first sidelined him during a 48-10 loss to Cronulla on May 27.
Regular first graders Mitchell Pearce, the Saifiti twins Daniel and Jacob, and Tautau Moga are already out.
Meanwhile, upcoming opponents the Storm are expected to welcome back both Will Chambers and Curtis Scott from suspension as well as Billy Slater from a hamstring injury.
SPORTING DECLARATION:Cleary, Ponga the next Origin greats