Leeds Rhinos' young Player of the Year Chris Clarkson has suffered a fractured thumb which will keep him out of action for six weeks.
Clarkson signed a new two- year contract last season and appeared in the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final in his debut season in the first team.
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However, the 20-year-old has suffered a fracture to his thumb which will require an operation and lead to around six weeks on the sidelines.
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Head coach Brian McDermott admits the injury news is a big blow but at least knows Clarkson should be for the start of the new campaign.
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"It is disappointing for Chris as he was training well in pre-season," said McDermott.
"However, if there is ever a good time to suffer an injury like this it is now and we are confident Chris will be back for the start of the season."
Clarkson, who this time last year was still an apprentice bricklayer, admits to being frustrated by the injury blow but has set his sights on as quick a return as possible.
"I took the knock in training and unfortunately it is going to need an operation," said the young Rhinos ace.
"Hopefully I can continue most of my fitness work and I won't miss out on too much in pre-season."
Meanwhile, Huddersfield Giants have secured the services of England scrum-half Luke Robinson until the end of 2015.
The 26-year-old Robinson, who was one of the few successes on England's recent Four Nations tour, signed a two-year contract extension in March, taking him to the end of 2012, and has now committed his future to the club for another three years.
The deal matches that of his England and Huddersfield team-mate Kevin Brown, who signed a new five-year deal in June.
Robinson, who delayed his wedding to make his international debut in New Zealand, will miss the first month of the new season after undergoing shoulder surgery, three weeks after going under the knife to repair the elbow he broke during England's victory over Papua New Guinea.
Although he played for England at scrum-half, he is set to continue in his new hooking role with the Giants after being handed the number nine jersey ahead of Shaun Lunt for Engage Super League XVI.
Former Wakefield and Castleford star Danny Brough gets Robinson's old squad number, with Scott Grix earmarked for the full-back role after being handed outgoing captain Brett Hodgson's number one jersey.