St George Illawarra have been handed a fresh blow with star centre Zac Lomax to miss six weeks after having surgery on a dislocated thumb.
In an additional hit for the 21-year-old, it is also set to rule him out of at least the first State of Origin with teams for the series opener to be picked in less than a month for the June 9 match.
Lomax is yet to make his debut for NSW but was considered a hot chance to land a spot in the centres considering his form for the Dragons to start the season.
Should he return to play Canberra in round 15, Lomax will have just one game to push his chance to be selected for the second Origin match on June 27 - the following Sunday.
The injury happened in last week's loss to the Wests Tigers in which he played just 18 minutes.
"He dislocated his thumb over the weekend which caused a bit of capsule damage and he had a surgical repair on that (on Tuesday night)," said Dragons general manager Ben Haran.
"Everything went to plan as we'd expect and our medical staff did a wonderful job getting him in and to see the surgeon and getting operated on so we expect that to be approximately a six week return to play."
In his place, the Dragons have named Tyrell Fuimaono in the centres to face Canterbury on Sunday.