Catalan Dragons forward Jason Baitieri will be sidelined for the rest of the Super League season due to a serious knee injury that requires major surgery.
The 23-year-old forward suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the 28-20 defeat to Huddersfield at the weekend.
Baitieri, who had been an ever-present for the Dragons this year, will go under the knife next week and is unlikely to recover in time to feature for France at the World Cup starting in October.
"It's really bad news for the team," said Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous.
"Jason is a valuable player on and off the field, who has worked really hard to become one of the leaders in the team.
"But the team has so far always bounced back and I know we will find the strength to overcome this new injury."
The loss of Baitieri, who joined the Perpignan club from Sydney Roosters at the start of the 2011 season, is the latest in a series of injury blows for the Dragons.
Full-back Brent Webb is out for the season with a back injury, prop Olivier Elima will be sidelined until August with a ruptured bicep and scrum-half Scott Dureau has yet to play this year after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour.
Elima, the French national captain, is expected back for the World Cup, but Baitieri is not expected to have recovered in time.
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