Paul Kent has revealed that Mitchell Pearce's thumb injury may not have been suffered at training after all.
Speaking on Fox Sports' NRL 360, Kent said there may be a more sinister event behind the injury.
Pearce underwent surgery at the start of the year and the Knights said it was due to a training injury.
Kent said that there were rumours circulating that the incident had occurred in a "street fight" rather then at training.
Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien however denied the report according to Kent.
“I asked Adam O’Brien about that some weeks back whether it was true or not. He categorically denied it, he said it happened in a tackling drill so you accept that.”
Pearce signed a one-year extension to stay at Newcastle on Tuesday, with O'Brien saying at the time that Pearce “has never been violent... Yes, he has hurt people close to him but he’s never had to front up for being violent.”
Kent believes the peculiar statement may have been O'Brien getting on the front foot of the rumours.
“There was a rumour that the broken thumb that he suffered at training came from a street fight,” Kent said.
Journalist Paul Crawley said the comments were more than just odd.
“That’s an absurd comment for Adam O’Brien to make,” Crawley said.
“I know he’s trying to protect his player, but you sacked him as captain. You made that call, you made a decision.
“He let the team down so you’ve taken the captaincy off him and now you’re saying the critics are coming for him.”
Pearce has been no stranger to scandals during his career and even during his time at the Knights.
Recently he was forced to call-off his wedding due to a texting scandal regarding a female employee of the club.
Newcastle will get their 2021 season underway against Canterbury on Friday at McDonald Jones Stadium.