A lingering foot problem could force Wests Tigers prop Russell Packer into medical retirement despite still having two years to run on his deal, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The 30-year old will meet with medical experts on Wednesday in a bid to work out the root of his foot issue.
It is believed that he suffered the injury playing in the NSW Canterbury Cup in July. After undergoing surgery, Packer has not taken part in any running sessions and may never be able to play again.
His potential retirement could leave a big hole in the Wests Tigers’ salary cap.
Packer is believed to be earning well over $700,000 a season, and while the Tigers have reportedly already paid him his wages of around $25,000 from November to February, he is still owed at least $1.2 million.
It leaves the Tigers in a similar position to what happened with Ben Matulino and the Rabbitohs with Sam Burgess.
The NRL could elect to wipe Packer’s salary off the Tigers’ books if he is forced to walk away from the game, as was the case with Burgess and Matulino.
Packer has plated 19 NRL games but has not appeared at the top level since round six last year.