Billy Slater's season could be over, with the Melbourne Storm full-back set to miss up to eight months after undergoing shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
Slater, 32, re-injured his troublesome left shoulder in the Storm's NRL season-opening win over St George Illawarra Dragons on March 7.
The Storm had been hoping for the best after Slater, who underwent a shoulder reconstruction last June, sat out Sunday's 34-16 victory at home to Gold Coast Titans, but an arthroscope revealed the worst.
"While we are hugely disappointed to hear the extent of Billy's injury, we are very pleased to hear the medical team expect him to make a full and successful recovery," Storm football director Frank Ponissi said in a statement.
Slater, who signed a lucrative two-year deal in 2015, was limited to just seven appearances last season due to shoulder problems.