Storm superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen has had surgery on Saturday to repair his fractured right ankle, with the club saying they are "devastated" for the 25-year-old.
Playing just his third game back in the NRL after more than a year out with a knee injury, Papenhuyzen was taken from the field on a medicab in the 73rd minute at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
He was immediately taken to hospital in a horror end to a night in which the Storm also lost winger Xavier Coates to an ankle injury and had four players leave the field for HIAs.
"We're obviously devastated for Ryan suffering another setback after spending a significant time away from the game after injuring his knee last year," Storm general manager Frank Ponissi said in a statement.
He's worked extremely hard to get back to the NRL over that time and left no stone unturned in his recovery.
"We know that he is the ultimate professional on and off the field and this is just another challenge that he will take on with both hands.
"His surgery went well this morning and, at this stage, we expect him to be back training in the new year but for now we're focused on ensuring he is getting the right care."
Papenhuyzen took to Instagram with a message for the Storm fans on Saturday, posting simpy 'We go again, love ya'.
Coates, meanwhile, was being sent for scans on Saturday to assess the extent of the damage to his ankle.
"I just can’t imagine how Ryan's feeling at the moment," Storm coach Craig Bellamy told media after the match on Friday.
"The amount of work he’s put in to get back to playing again and then he had to work hard to get back into the NRL team, he played three or four games for the Falcons.
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"It wasn’t a great night anyway, and this just made it a lot worse.
"We probably had four HIAs as well but with all due respect we are not going to blame the injuries for what happened tonight. Our first half was really poor, could have been 20-0 at half-time the way we played.
"We were poor and at the end of the day the result was what we deserved.
"I can't remember the last time we attacked as poorly as we did tonight. We looked like 17 players who'd only just met each other in the dressing room before the game."
After shattering his kneecap in Round 18 last season against Canberra, Papenhuyzen had endured a long and painful rehabilitation before making it back on the field for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in early August.
He worked his way back into the Storm side for an 18-minute cameo appearance at home in Round 26 against the Titans before playing 77 minutes against the Broncos in Round 27.
He came into the game off the bench in the 23rd minute at Suncorp on Friday night and had some nice touches before suffering the injury that left the entire stadium in stunned silence.