Australian fullback Shannon McDonnell will miss the rest of the Super League season after snapping his Achilles tendon, coach Keiron Cunningham has confirmed.
McDonnell was injured in the latter stages of Saints’ last-gasp 25-24 loss at Castleford last Thursday.
The 27-year-old, who rejoined Saints in April after a brief spell with the club last season, will now have surgery and faces between four and seven months of rehabilitation.
It is yet another blow for McDonnell, who missed the 2013 Challenge Cup final when at Hull and Saints’ grand final success last year through injury.
“He has snapped his Achilles. He gets a repair tonight, so we will see him next season,” Cunningham said on Monday.
“Shannon has been fantastic and justified the decision I made to bring him over. It took him a while to get going and get into the system but we were working really hard with him behind the scenes. It was making him a better player and he was in great form. I genuinely feel for him.”
McDonnell’s injury increases Saints’ problems at fullback.
The champions have already lost Jonny Lomax for the season due to injury while veteran Paul Wellens has also had a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Another option, Lance Hohaia, has retired since the start of the campaign while winger Tommy Makinson is also injured and out of contention.
Another winger, Adam Swift, could be a possibility for Sunday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Widnes but he too needs to prove his fitness after being carried off on a stretcher at Castleford.