Emile Heskey is set to miss the start of the A-League season after suffering a knee injury in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday.
Heskey underwent scans on Thursday which revealed a grade two tear of his medial ligament, which will likely see him sidelined for six weeks.
The Newcastle Jets’ marquee player is now almost certain to miss the season opening clash against Alessandro Del Piero’s Sydney FC on October 11, but is tipped to return in time for the derby against local rivals Central Coast Mariners on November 2.
Following the injury, Newcastle boss Gary van Egmond expressed his disappointment at the challenge which injured his star striker.
"It was a pretty ordinary tackle," Van Egmond told The Newcastle Herald. "You don't expect that in a friendly. We certainly did not come down here with that mindset. We understand that the ball is there to be won and what have you.
"But I think everyone has to make sure that each squad can turn up and have the best team possible for round one.
"We had the same sort of situation with Wellington a year or so ago [when a series of heavy tackles led to a brawl].
"Sometimes games get out of hand in the pre-season because the boys haven't played for so long and there is competition for places."
Meanwhile, Sydney FC have confirmed the signing of former Red Star Belgrade defender Nikola Petkovic, who is expected to line up against the Jets at Allianz Stadium.