Penrith's 2018 NRL campaign has already suffered a blow, with young five-eighth Tyrone May set to miss the opening rounds of the season with a knee injury.
May tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Friday night's NRL semi-final loss to Brisbane, compounding Penrith's pain as the Broncos ended their season.
Penrith confirmed on Monday that the 21-year-old is expected to go under the knife shortly and will likely be sidelined for at least six months in rehabilitation.
It means he won't be able to train with the team throughout the pre-season, robbing him of a crucial summer alongside fellow young half Nathan Cleary.
It will also come as a bitter blow to the Panthers if they are to lose Matt Moylan, whose season ended on personal leave at the club.
Penrith are adamant they will keep the contracted captain, however a number of clubs have already indicated their interest if he is to seek a release.
If Moylan is to go, May would be the likely replacement at No.6 after he filled the role late in his breakout year at the club.
After he debuted in round 19 against the Warriors, May was an excellent foil for Cleary in the final two months of the season.
It marks the second year in a row the Panthers will lose a crucial player to a knee injury before the year starts, after representative winger Josh Mansour was absent for the first 12 rounds of 2017 after off-season surgery.