St George Illawarra forward Tyson Frizell has undergone surgery after copping an accidental blow to the groin in Saturday's NRL loss to North Queensland.
Frizell reeled out of an attempted tackle on Cowboys fullback Jordan Kahu and follow up scans resulted in the State of Origin star undergoing an operation on a ruptured testicle.
The Dragons face a short turnaround this week, flying back from Townsville on Sunday after the 24-12 loss to the Cowboys, before facing South Sydney at Kogarah on Thursday night.
A stint on the sidelines for Frizell would be a huge blow for coach Paul McGregor, who moved Frizell into the middle to fill the void left by Jack de Belin, who has been stood down by the NRL while charged with rape.
Frizell took to Instagram on Sunday, alongside a picture of him in a hospital bed with his son, to say: "Not an ideal start to the 2019 season but so grateful to have you (wife Sammy) and the little man by my side to put a smile on my face."
The Dragons said Frizell, who was moved to lock after Jack de Belin was stood down, was being assessed before Thursday's clash with South Sydney at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
"On Saturday night in our game against the North Queensland Cowboys, Tyson Frizell copped a blow to his testes," Dragons head of performance Nathan Pickworth said.
"Following the game, we investigated further with follow up scans which unfortunately resulted in surgery being performed in Townsville.
"Tyson this morning is in a good condition and in good spirits. We will update Red V members and fans further as more news comes to hand later in the week."
The Dragons struggled to contain North Queensland big man Jason Taumalolo who ran for 300 metres in the game, setting up a couple of tries, while new captain Michael Morgan was also instrumental. McGregor said the focus will be firmly on recovery and set completion this week, declaring he expected the Dragons to be much sharper against Souths, who were impressive in beating premiers the Roosters on Friday.
"If we show that effort and desperation and we control possession, you'll see a different football team on Thursday," he said.
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Not an ideal start to the 2019 seasonTyson Frizell