Newcastle fear former Queensland State of Origin forward Aidan Guerra may have suffered a broken leg as part of a cruel fallout from his side's loss to Manly.
Guerra had to be taken from the field in a medicab late in the Knights' 26-18 loss to Manly at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night, which was also Newcastle's fourth straight loss.
The second-rower was hurt trying to make a tackle on Manly winger Reuben Garrick, and was taken to hospital for X-rays late on Saturday night.
"That's a bad one. From what we believe, he may have broken his leg," coach Nathan Brown said.
"That's a double-whammy - a really poor performance then a broken leg for one of your players, so it's not good."
The loss left the Knights towards the bottom end of the ladder despite entering the season with great hopes of their rebuild coming to fruition.
Unlike their defeats to Penrith, Canberra and St George Illawarra, the Knights were never really in the match against Manly after falling to an 18-0 lead after 20 minutes.
And while they have a number of new faces in their squad this year, Brown said it couldn't just be a case of being patient and waiting for the players to gel.
"I'll say patience for some parts of our game. But I won't say patience in round five to lack intensity in the early part of the contest," Brown said.
"We'll have a look at it again, we're not going to sit here and make any emotional statements now (about dropping players).
"Sione (Mata'utia) was out today and should be fit. Herman (Ese'ese) was very good today in reserve grade. I don't know if Kurt (Mann) will be fit. Tau (Moga) has had two games back now.
"We certainly do have people available who are adequate to do a good job."
The biggest questions could be asked about Newcastle's spine.
Connor Watson came off the bench and at one stage went from hooker to five-eighth when No.6 Mason Lino was pulled from the field, before Mitchell Pearce suffered a concussion and Lino returned.
It means Lino, Watson and Mann will likely have to fit into two spots against Gold Coast next week if all are fit.
"Connor was going really well, he was causing Manly a lot of problems," Brown said.
"Mason has barely played any football, he was quite underdone. That was more of a thing we thought was best fit for the game.
"Then Pearcey got hurt and we never got to have a real look at it ... Mason is certainly working his way into fitness at the moment."
Australian Associated Press