NEWCASTLE Knights five-eighth Jarrod Mullen is likely to be sidelined until mid-season after scans revealed he needs surgery to repair a torn hamstring.
Mullen will see a surgeon next Monday to have the prognosis confirmed but sources have told the Newcastle Herald the 26-year-old pivot will have to go under the knife to repair the hamstring he tore in Newcastle’s 16-11 quarter-final loss to Brisbane in the Auckland Nines at Eden Park last Sunday.
It is understood the tear in his left hamstring is close to the bone and surgery, which will sideline him for up to four months, remains his only realistic option.
In a statement on the club’s website, the Knights said the results of scans taken on Tuesday ‘‘have confirmed a hamstring avulsion’’ and he is scheduled to see the surgeon next Monday.
‘‘The seriousness of the injury and therefore his recovery time will be determined post consultation with the surgeon on Monday,’’ the Knights statement said.
The loss of their primary playmaker for at least the first half of the season is a devastating blow to Newcastle’s hopes of challenging for the NRL title, and ends any hope of Mullen staking a claim for the NSW No.6 jersey for this year’s State of Origin series.
In the absence of regular skipper Kurt Gidley at various stages last season, Mullen captained the Knights and steered them within a game of the grand final. His most complete and consistent season ended with him finishing equal fifth in Dally M Medal voting last year.
Coach Wayne Bennett will consider switching Gidley back to the halves to replace Mullen, which would leave young gun Adam Clydsdale and former Canberra Raiders hooker Travis Waddell to share the dummy-half duties.
Waddell and Clydsdale will alternate at hooker in Newcastle’s pre-season trial against Canberra at Scully Park in Tamworth on Saturday night.
Mullen, who captained the Knights in the Auckland Nines, was running towards Brisbane’s line just before half-time in the quarter-final but, without a defender touching him, collapsed to the ground mid-stride and immediately clutched at the back of his his left thigh.
He hobbled from the field and watched the second half from the sideline bench, holding an ice pack against the back of his left thigh.