MATT Rowell is likely to miss half the season after scans confirmed the young Gold Coast star has suffered damage to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Rowell was taken off in the opening term of Sunday's 25-point loss to West Coast after falling awkwardly in a tackle.
He will be in a brace for six weeks and then be re-evaluated.
"We expect him to be playing in the back half of the year," Gold Coast football manager Jon Haines said.
"All things being equal it's a reasonable outcome."
It is the second serious injury in the 19-year-old's young career, following a dislocated shoulder last year that required season-ending surgery.
>> WATCH: BEHIND-THE-SCENES DRAMA OF ROWELL'S 2020 INJURY IN THE PLAYER BELOW
Teammate Zac Smith injured his PCL during the pre-season and is in the middle of an eight to 12-week recovery.
Gold Coast expects a similar timeline for Rowell.
"We know the attitude Matt will take into his rehab, he'll give himself every chance to expediate that, but at this stage until the brace is off, that's when we'll know a bit more," Haines said.
"He's flat, he loves the game.
"At the same time he's no different to any other player in rehab. He'll hit it strongly like he did last time."