Newcastle Knights recruit Kai Pearce-Paul may not be fit for the opening rounds of the 2024 NRL season in what could be a horror blow for the club.

Pearce-Paul, a second-rower who has already played for England in his short career, arrived in Newcastle last week ahead of the start of pre-season, but it's now being reported he will have little time on the training paddock.

Wide World of Sports are reporting that the forward has suffered a foot injury that was picked up in a routine medical check by the club.

It's understood the injury may be serious enough to force the international forward in for surgery, with the recovery then being long enough to knock him out of the opening games of Newcastle's campaign, which will kick-off at home against the Canberra Raiders in a match between two sides who put on a belter of an elimination final last year.

RELATED: Full 2024 NRL fixtures

It's reported he played much of his final season at Wigan with pain-killing needles.

"His foot has serious problems and we are still doing tests but at this early stage it doesn't look good," a Knights source told the publication.

"If he needs surgery he probably won't be fit for the early stages of the season.

"He pulled out of the Test series against Tonga hoping to get the foot right but we are getting reports that he played a lot of last season with pain-killing needles at Wigan, which we are not very happy about.

"Hopefully he can get over it and avoid the knife.

"We will just have to wait and see."

The injury could be a big blow for the Knights, who were looking at the forward as a walk up starter on the edge for the Knights, with the club letting Lachlan Fitzgibbon go at the end of the 2023 campaign.

Pearce-Paul is coming off an appearance in the Super League grand final, where Wigan got the better of Catalans, although he then sat out the three-match Test series against Tonga.