St George Illawarra have confirmed young playmaker Kyle Stanley will miss the 2013 NRL season to undergo surgery to repair knee ligament damage.
The highly-rated 21-year-old, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the Dragons' round-19 clash with Cronulla last season, was expected to be fit for the start of the new campaign.
However, in a freak accident away from the training ground last month, Stanley slipped on a wet floor and reinjured his surgically-repaired knee.
It was hoped he wouldn't need to go under the knife, but the Dragons confirmed on Thursday that specialists have decided Stanley will require a two-stage operation to repair the ligament for a second time.
"It's not the best news but I understand that this decision is overall in my best interests as a player," said Stanley.
"I have to remain positive and know that once the surgery is completed, I can commence the road back to recovery properly with solid rehabilitation.
"The entire team are in the middle of pre-season now and are all working hard ahead of the new year ahead.
"They've all wished me well and, while I wish I was out there with them training, they know I'll be supporting them whatever way I can."
Dragons' coach Steve Price said he was disappointed by the news but has praised Stanley for the manner in which he's handled the setback.
"Everyone at the club is saddened by this news and feel for what Kyle has to go through but we will all be by his side along the way," said Price.
"Kyle is an exciting young player who has really come of age this past year and he has handled these recent obstacles with positivity and maturity."
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