Jack Bird will undergo surgery on Thursday after scans showed the Brisbane Broncos recruit’s injured shoulder was not healing with rest.
The Cronulla premiership player was officially unveiled by the club on Wednesday but the first news was less than positive.
“We brought him in for a check-up and we feel surgery is the best option for Jack going forward,” fitness boss Jeremy Hickmans said in a statement.
Bird, 22, first injured his shoulder in August but he and the Sharks opted to keep him on the field.
The Broncos are confident he will play in round one but it could come without significant match practice, meaning a later debut appears more likely.
“We’ll know more after the surgery but we’re hopeful he’ll be ready for round one,” Hickmans said.
“Jack’s biggest concern coming to a new club was being in the best possible shape, and getting an operation wasn’t part of that plan.
“But in the long-term it’s going to be better for him and that’s the conversation we had.
“The good thing with shoulders is you can get running pretty quickly to make sure his running volume and fitness is right for the start of the season.”
It is as yet unknown where Bird will play for the Broncos, though lock remains on the table.