Penrith Panthers New South Wales State of Origin forward Liam Martin is likely to be the latest player ruled out by injury until the finals, with the club left sweating that he hasn't sustained a fracture of the ankle.
Penrith's campaign has already been hit by the absence of Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, with Cleary suspended through to the end of the regular season for a dangerous throw on Parramatta Eels' star Dylan Brown, and Luai racing the clock to return from a knee injury in time for the finals.
Martin is now set to be in the same boat, with an ankle injury ending his night during a miserable 16 points to nil loss at home to the Melbourne Storm on Thursday evening for Penrith.
Fox Sports sideline reporter James Hooper said at the time that he was on crutches with a left ankle injury.
Liam Martin with a textbook lateral ankle sprain, garden variety “rolled ankle”. On crutches now, but provided he can avoid a fracture usually injury looks worse than it is. Even high grade ligaments lateral tears can allow a return in 3-4 weeks, even quicker if partially torn pic.twitter.com/nN8cL92uum
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) August 11, 2022
"Bad news for the Panthers. Liam Martin's night is over," Hooper said.
"He is currently on crutches in the Penrith dressing room. It is a left ankle injury."
The club are yet to provide an official update, however, footage of the injury showed Martin roll over on his ankle after attempting to run a decoy, before being supported by club medical staff back to the dressing room.
NRL Physio said the injury should allow him to return in three to four weeks, or potentially sooner if the ligament of the ankle wasn't completely torn, and provided he hasn't suffered a fracture.
Martin has been sent for scans and the Panthers will be sweating on him being available in time for the finals, although his chances of playing again in the regular season - which only has three games remaining - seem slim.
Penrith have all but sewn up the minor premiership, although still need another victory to make it a mathematical certainty during a run home which will see them take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, New Zealand Warriors and currently second-placed North Queensland Cowboys.