He's only played eight games but Jack Bird's debut Brisbane season appears over, with the prized Cronulla recruit booked for sternum surgery.
Coach Wayne Bennett says the NRL club is preparing to "get by without him" after the ex-NSW star finally succumbed to the injury that had plagued him for nine months.
Not sighted since round 10, Bird had been hopeful of playing Saturday night's NRL clash against his former club.
However the 23-year-old will be sidelined for at least six weeks after surgery on Monday.
Asked if Bird's season was done on Friday, Bennett said: "It will be close to it.
"They are talking six weeks but we are not going to rush him.
"We have to get by without him.
"If we get him back it will be good if not we will just get on with life."
Bird has not been able to find his feet after requiring off-season shoulder surgery upon arrival from Cronulla.
He then struggled for form and confidence while battling the sternum complaint once making his Broncos debut.
Bird arrived at the Broncos as their big-money signing - reportedly on $800,000 a season - as the club looked to snap a 12-year premiership drought.
"It''s been a poor year by Jack's standards but none of it has been in his control," Bennett said.
"We probably won't see much of him at all this year now. At least he knows now what is going on."
Bennett cleared James Roberts for the Sharks clash after resting the NSW centre with an Achilles complaint for last round's disappointing loss to Melbourne.
The Brisbane coach is yet to decide whether to replace Kotoni Staggs with ex-Sharks forward Sam Tagataese on the bench.
Bennett said Brisbane had been buoyed by captain Darius Boyd's shock decision to end his representative career and concentrate on the eighth-placed Broncos' plight.
However he denied having had any influence on Boyd's decision.
"Darius has got himself in control of his own life which I think is important, he's not sitting around waiting to see if he is in or out or in between (of the Queensland side)," Bennett said.
"He didn't have to have the club in mind (before retiring). We encourage people to play rep football, we have always done that.
"It was a decision he felt was right for him and he is comfortable with that."
Brisbane will wear black arm bands against Cronulla to honour founding father Gary Balkin who died on Thursday night.