The Canterbury Bulldogs' latest recruit Connor Tracey's ankle injury is reportedly worse than first thought.

The utility, who made a surprise switch from the Cronulla Sharks last week to join the Bulldogs and their cast of incoming players for 2024, was believed to have injured his ankle around the time he signed on with the Bulldogs.

But it has now been revealed that ankle injury will not only hamper his pre-season, but rule him out of a sizeable chunk of the early going in 2024, with the utility unlikely to be available before Round 6 according to journalist Michelle Bishop, who told SEN Radio that the ankle injury is a 'bad roll.'

Connor Tracey had a bit of an accident at training,” Bishop said on SEN 1170 The Run Home.

“24 hours before he actually did the deal (and) signed the new contract at the Bulldogs, he rolled his ankle.

“It's not just an average roll, it was a really bad roll, he will be out.

“He will definitely miss the (first) five, six weeks of next season.

“(He) can't do much preseason which is a massive blow and you hate to seeing this with rugby league players.”

The player switch that allowed Tracey to switch clubs - which has been confirmed on Thursday and will see youngster Michael Gabrael go the other way back to the Shire - was set to see Tracey likely in the congested battle for a backline Bulldogs jersey.

He is believed to want to play fullback at Belmore, although it seems a long shot given the club has signed Stephen Crichton on big money to fill the role after he left the Penrith Panthers for what appears to be the same reason.

The injury to Tracey will now set him back even further, with the utility missing a sizeable chunk of training as well as the opening games of the year before finally being able to potentially push his way back into the side at Belmore under Cameron Ciraldo.