JAKE Clifford might have played his last game of a roller-coaster season after the Newcastle Knights halfback suffered a suspected broken arm late in the 14-10 win against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Sunday.
Clifford was seen shaking hands with Tigers players with his left hand after the game.
He will require scans but Knights staff on Sunday were resigned to the fact he had suffered a fracture in his right arm.
With four games left in the season, the 24-year-old might not be seen on the field again this year.
His likely replacement for Saturday's clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium will be Adam Clune, although Phoenix Crossland might be another option for coach Adam O'Brien to consider.
Clifford's season has been one of contrasting highs and lows.
He was on top of the Dally M voting after helping the Knights beat Sydney Roosters and the Tigers in their first two games of the season.
He was then dropped after the 50-2 hammering from Melbourne in round eight and given time off for personal reasons.
He was recalled a month later, played two games in first grade, then was relegated to NSW Cup for six weeks, before being reinstated to the No.1 team for the 24-10 loss to Canterbury eight days ago.
In total, he has played in 12 of Newcastle's 20 games this season. He set up their opening try on Sunday with a deft grubber kick for Enari Tuala and appeared to be playing with confidence.
As well as a finding a new halfback, the other tough call for coach O'Brien this week will be whether to reinstate enforcer David Klemmer to his starting line-up.
Klemmer missed Sunday's game after being stood down over a much-publicised incident involving Newcastle's high-performance manager Hayden Knowles.
He returned to training on Friday after accepting an undisclosed suspended fine and is available for selection this week.
Klemmer has been in the run-on team in all 15 games he has played this season, and O'Brien has stated that he prefers to use NSW Origin representative Jacob Saifiti off the bench.
But Saifiti was outstanding against the Tigers, carrying the ball 150 metres and making 31 tackles, to state a strong case for retention in the starting side.