GIANTS star Stanley Gene will miss the final three games of the Super League season.
Confirmation came today that the versatile Papua New Guinean suffered a fractured cheekbone during Friday's defeat at Castleford which wrecked Huddersfield's play-off hopes.
The injury is similar to that suffered last season by prop Mick Slicker, who required surgery to have a plate inserted and was sidelined for eight weeks.
This obviously means Gene won't be seen in a Giants shirt again this season.
He joins his teammates Brandon Costin (shoulder) and Jonathan Grayshon (leg) on the long-term injury list, although they will all be available for the start of pre-season training in November.
But the major concern for head coach Tony Smith right now is covering for their loss in the short term, starting with Sunday's home clash against Widnes Vikings, for which he is hopeful Steve McNamara will be fit after he suffered a shoulder injury at The Jungle.
With his two main midfield strike weapons - Costin and Gene - out of action, Smith is facing a tough task to plot a bright end-of-season run.
"Losing Stanley is another big blow for us," said Smith.
"It was bad enough losing Brandon, but to follow up by losing Stanley is unfortunate in the extreme.
"It was noticeable how we lost our attacking edge when Stanley went off injured against Castleford, and that's a compliment to what he can do.
"It's something we need to look at very closely between now and the Widnes match.
"Luckily, we've got nine days to come up with ways of covering for the loss of both players.
"Whether our defeat at Castleford was the end of our play-off hopes or not, we still have a lot to play for, and that's why we will continue to work flat-out on ways to overcome their loss.
"We still have immense pride in the way we perform and we intend to show that in our last three games."
Goalkicking club captain McNamara has told coach Tony Smith he will be available for selection against Widnes, whose own play-off hopes were dented by a 40-4 home defeat by St Helens yesterday.
"Macca is very hopeful and made it clear he is desperate to play," said Smith.