Canberra coach Ricky Stuart says rising winger Jordan Rapana could be sidelined from NRL action for up to two months with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone.
Scans on Wednesday are expected to confirm the extent of Rapana’s injury, which were sustained in last weekend’s upset of the Rabbitohs.
“Initially we believe it may be a depressed fracture of the cheekbone, and that’s anywhere from 6-8 weeks,” Stuart said.
“So we’re hoping on some good news, but he’s a tough character to play on with that injury.”
Stuart also defended accusations the 25-year-old Rapana had feigned injury to gain a penalty against South Sydney, recalling how he also played on with a fractured skull late last season.
“I was on the sideline and I saw the whack,” he said.
“It was 20 metres from me and it was a big collision. So it’s all nice to sitting in the coach’s box or sitting in the stands, saying `Get up. There’s nothing wrong with you.’
“The amount of criticism that was aimed at Jordan is unfair.
“He’s shown that he’s a very tough guy. He played with a very bad injury to his forehead last season at the end of the year.
“And again on the weekend he’s had a bad whack to the head which was an accident. The guy that went into the tackle obviously didn’t mean to.
“But he also got another whack later on in the game and finished the game off with a busted eardrum.”
Canberra’s upset of the defending premiers means they have now won three of their past four games and moved to within one win of the top four.
However Stuart said his side needed to keep improving.
“We’ve been quite satisfied with the results. I still think there’s a lot of improvement though,” he said.
“We certainly won’t be sitting back and gloating about the last two wins because the wheels can fall off as quick as they get rolling.
“We just want to be consistent with our preparation and just keep the mentality of wanting to keep improving.”