Widnes Vikings' troubled first season back in Stobart Super League worsened as former captain Simon Finnigan was ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
The 30-year-old former Bradford and Huddersfield back-row forward suffered a broken leg and ruptured ankle ligaments during the Vikings' 36-12 defeat at Castleford yesterday.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Widnes said: "Following a thorough assessment, the Vikings can today confirm that back-row forward Simon Finnigan has suffered a fractured fibula and ruptured medial ankle ligaments following an injury sustained just five minutes into yesterday's fixture at the Probiz Coliseum.
"All at the Vikings wish Simon a speedy recovery."
Finnigan, who is in his second spell with the club, has played in 10 of their 13 Super League matches so far.
"I realised at the time that it was a bad injury but there's always that faint chance that things may not be as bad as first feared," he said.
"Unfortunately, it's turned out to be the worst case scenario and I'm absolutely gutted."
Finnigan is the third Widnes player to be ruled out for the rest of the season.
Half-back Anthony Watts and forward Ben Kavanagh sustained knee injuries in the opening month while hooker Thomas Coyle, an ever-present in 2011, suffered a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula in an academy game in February.
The latest setback for the Vikings comes just 24 hours after they released Watts and less than a month since they sacked Scott Moore.
Both players are thought to have broken club rules while Finnigan was one of three players suspended in February for a breach of discipline.
Widnes, who revealed last week that promising forward Anthony Mullally has rejected a new contract offer, are bottom of the table with just two wins in the first half of the season.