Champion Brisbane five-eighth Darren Lockyer may not play again until next month's NRL finals after suffering a hamstring tear in yesterday's 24-4 loss to the Dragons.
Lockyer will have an MRI scan later today to detect the extent of the tear which is likely to sideline him for up to three weeks. It could rule him out of Brisbane's final three premiership games against Penrith, Sydney Roosters and a possible minor premiership decider against Parramatta.
Rugby union-bound youngster Berrick Barnes looms as Lockyer's likely replacement against the Panthers at the weekend, although utility Casey McGuire is another option. Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says he will not take any risks with his star play maker who was still limping noticeably today at the team's pool recovery session.
Meanwhile, Manly is sweating on the fitness of forwards Ben Kennedy and Brent Kite after they were injured in the Sea Eagles' upset 22-14 NRL loss at Newcastle yesterday. Kennedy left Newcastle with his leg in a brace while Kite suffered a knee injury that may cost him at least two weeks on the sidelines.
The Sea Eagles are battling to stay in the top eight after suffering their sixth loss in seven games.