Giant Melbourne prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been ruled out for the rest of the NRL finals after dislocating his elbow at training.
Asofa-Solomona suffered the injury to his left elbow in a training drill on Tuesday morning.
The 20-year-old bench forward has enjoyed a breakout year for minor premiers the Storm, busting through 16 tackles and breaking the line four times.
He earlier missed five weeks of football with a knee injury.
Fellow fringe prop Christian Welch looms as the most likely to replace him on the interchange bench for Saturday week’s preliminary final between the winner of Brisbane and North Queensland.
“Nelson’s injury is bitterly disappointing for him and the team, particularly with the impressive form he has shown this season,” Melbourne football director Frank Ponissi said.
“While we are disappointed to lose Nelson, a feature of our team this season has been our depth and the resilience of the players to come into the side and play their role.
“We have no doubt whoever replaces Nelson, will come in and do just that.”