Saints fans could see Atelea Vea back before the end of the season, despite the forward enduring another injury nightmare.
Vea, in only his second game back following a three-month absence through a shoulder injury, damaged his medial cruciate ligament - and the knee injury will put him out of the Super 8s campaign.
He’s been through a dark period in his career and two games back - to do this is nastyKeiron Cunningham
But the good news is Vea’s latest injury will not require surgery, and as long as Saints stay on course and make the top four play-offs, the former London Broncos star could return before the end of the season.
“He’s going to be out for a number of weeks,” confirmed Cunningham.
“Rugby league’s not fair sometimes is it - it is what it is.
“(The injury is) similar to Percy (Mark Percival) and he was seven-and-a-half weeks. It could’ve been a hell of a lot worse and he doesn’t need surgery which is always a bonus.”
Vea had been hoping to relaunch his Saints career after missing 13 weeks of his first season at the club.
His enthusiasm was evident during his stint in Friday’s Challenge Cup semi-final, and Cunningham said his player’s latest dose of bad luck was hard to swallow.
“He was phenomenal. He changed the game and was absolutely brilliant,” the coach said.
“I think he deserves better that kid.
“He trains that hard and is so meticulous with the detail in his rehab and everything he does.
“He’s the ultimate professional and he deserves to have a shot at something at the end of the year.
“I really feel for him.”
But Cunningham revealed Vea is quickly coming to terms with his new setback and will quickly focus on making his return.
“He’s been through a dark period in his career and two games back - to do this is nasty,” he said.
“But he’s got his head around it.”