Brisbane Broncos have confirmed star Jack Bird has suffered an ACL injury during training days out from the club’s NRL opener against the Cowboys.
An MRI confirmed the news earlier this afternoon, with the star to see a specialist in the coming days with surgery the most likely option.
Broncos’ coach Anthony Seibold said the news was a crushing blow for the star.
“Rugby league is a cruel game sometimes,” said Seibold.
“Jack’s commitment to his rehabilitation has been unwavering in his return from his last knee injury.
“He has had a tremendous pre-season and ticked all the boxes required for a great start to the year.
“He had trialled really well in the fullback position and was excited to be playing in the first game of the season.
“All of his teammates and the staff at the Broncos are devastated at the timing and nature of the injury.
“The club will do our best to help Jack in his recovery and personal wellbeing and provide him with everything he needs.”
Bird was seen falling awkwardly at training while clashing with young halfback Tom Dearden. Bird was heard screaming expletives as he grabbed his left knee in pain.
Bird was on the training paddock for about 15 minutes when he buckled under the tackle.
He limped off the field and threw his shirt onto the ground in frustration before he was immediately assessed by Broncos medical staff.
Bird looked distraught leaving Broncos training and was seen limping to his car with his partner not far behind.
The injured star then drove himself from the facility.
Bird was named to play his first game since round nine last May, after recovering from a season-ending knee injury.
Bird played just eight games in his first season at the Broncos as he struggled to deal injuries to his sternum and shoulder.
“It was tough coming back from those injuries especially the ACL because I felt good, I was playing decent footy, I was happy,” Bird said recently.
“But I am pretty resilient. I will keep moving forward. Nothing is going to stop me from playing the game that I love.”
Jamayne Isaako will now start at fullback with Brisbane’s stocks taking a massive hit following a knee injury to key forward Matt Lodge, while new captain Alex Glenn (hamstring) will also miss Friday’s clash with the Cowboys.
It has left 22-year-old pair Patrick Carrigan and Brodie Croft as co-captains – Carrigan set to be the NRL’s least-experienced skipper and Croft offered the role in what will be his club debut.