In a cruel injury blow for Newcastle Jets, star import Patricio Rodriguez will miss at least a month of the Hyundai A-League with a calf strain.
The Jets confirmed the news on Wednesday, revealing the Argentine playmaker will be sidelined for between four and six weeks with the problem.
Rodriguez picked up the injury late in the Jets' 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers last Friday night, with scans on Tuesday confirming a grade two calf strain.
It’s bad timing for Ernie Merrick’s side who are trying to lock down a top-two berth with seven games left in the regular season.
Newcastle is currently in second spot, five points clear of third-placed Melbourne City and in the box seat for a crucial week off and a home match in the second week of the Finals Series.
Rodriguez has caught the eye with his classy displays since joining the Hunter club as an injury replacement for Venezuela forward Ronald Vargas.
In just six appearances, the 27-year-old has scored one goal and provided two assists.
His absence for Saturday’s clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium is likely to hand Riley McGree his first start in Jets colours.