GIANTS forward Paul Smith is to undergo surgery to repair the damage suffered to his face during Sunday's 26-20 Super League win at Warrington.
Smith clashed heads with teammate Chris Nero and suffered a badly broken nose, immediately ruling him out of Friday's McAlpine clash with fellow top-six side Hull (8.00).
But such is the extent of the damage that surgery is the only option.
It will rule the 24-year-old back-rower out of action for the next three weeks - at a time when he was making a first-team spot his own.
"This is a blow all round," said coach Jon Sharp.
"Paul has been showing some very solid Super League form and has taken his chance very well.
"But he was left with no other choice but to have surgery.
"His nose was a real mess and bone had broken through the skin."
The rest of the squad that triumphed against the Wolves should, however, be available for selection.
But Sharp is not expecting any of his three senior players who missed the weekend trip to return.
Marcus St Hilaire (calf), Mick Slicker (leg) and Darren Turner (knee) are still struggling and need another week to recover.