Former Kiwi international Jason Taumalolo is set to miss up to a month of NRL action after suffering a fractured hand at training on Thursday.
The Cowboys co-captain will seek further medical advice before deciding the appropriate course of treatment but the club expects the Tongan wrecking ball to spend a period of time on the sidelines.
It is understood the 115kg lock forward was involved in a regulation contact drill at Cowboys training and came off second best, with Taumalolo leaving the training paddock immediately for medical treatment.
The loss of Taumalolo for the next four weeks is a hammer blow for a Cowboys club desperate to return to the finals after finishing in the bottom four for three consecutive seasons.
The latest setback caps off a tough week for the 27-year-old who was publicly questioned by Cowboys coach Todd Payten following a sub-par performance against the Panthers in round one.
Taumalolo had a dismal performance in the opening round 24-0 hammering recording some of the lowest figures of his career in his 51-minute stint.
The pair have since cleared the air with Payten declaring his post-match comments with the media had been well-received by the players overall.
The Cowboys will get their chance to right their opening round horror show when they take on the Dragons in the Saturday night late game.
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