Gateshead Thunder half-back Conor Condron has been sidelined for up to eight weeks with a facial injury.
The 18-year-old was withdrawn from last month's 66-32 defeat by South Wales Scorpions with a cut eye, but further tests revealed a broken cheekbone.
"To lose Conor for a large part of the season is a big blow," admitted Thunder director of rugby Chris Hood.
Condron joined the Championship One club from the Castleford Tigers academy in October 2010.
Thunder will continue to monitor the former Smawthorne Panthers junior during the recovery process.
"With the treatment we can give him here with our doctors and physios, we hope that it may be more like six weeks," Hood added.