Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold is confident Matt Lodge will recover from a knee injury and play again in 2020 after revealing the prop had been playing with a partially torn ACL since 2015.
The damaging front rower initially feared he would miss the NRL season after aggravating the injury at training on Tuesday.
While Lodge faces a stint on the sidelines after the club opted to rehabilitate the injury rather than book surgery, Seibold predicted the prop would return sooner rather than later.
"Lodgey has played with a partial tear in his ACL since 2015," he said.
"He has had to do it before so that is what gives him great confidence and gives our medical staff great confidence that he can rehab this.
"All he has done with it I understand is re-aggravated that injury in some way.
"It is disappointing that we lose him for the early rounds but he will do everything he can to get back as soon as he can."
Back-rower Tevita Pangai will slot into the front row partnering NSW prop Payne Haas as early as Saturday's trial against North Queensland in Cairns, with Pat Carrigan now in line to start at lock for the Broncos.
Seibold said he had no concerns about Brisbane's depth despite the injury blow to Lodge.
"Tevita will play in the front row this week. He has played a whole heap of front row in the past and I think having Patty Carrigan, Tom Flegler and Rhys Kennedy we are well covered in that space, and Payne Haas," he said.
"Pat (Carrigan) has had a tremendous pre-season.
"Anyone who has seen him physically can see he has grown and he was really good in the Capras trial (last weekend) so he gets an opportunity to start there.
"I think he will be thereabouts to start in the 13 jersey (in round one)."
Australian Associated Press