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Canterbury have suffered a huge blow before the 2020 NRL season with confirmation star five-eighth Kieran Foran is expected to miss the entire campaign.
Foran underwent a shoulder reconstruction on Tuesday after he was injured playing for New Zealand at the start of this month, and the club has confirmed further damage was found.
The 29-year-old will undergo more surgery and recovery is expected to be between nine and 12 months, which would rule him out of the entire 2020 season.
"Kieran Foran yesterday underwent re-constructive surgery on his injured shoulder," a club statement on Wednesday read.
"The surgery revealed that there was new and additional damage to the shoulder that will require Kieran to undergo further surgery later this month."
It's a huge blow for not only their on-field aspirations, but has massive implications for the salary cap with Foran believed to be on a deal worth more than $1million for 2020.
The Bulldogs will almost certainly apply for salary cap dispensation under NRL rules; a maximum of $350,000 of relief can be granted if a player is injured while on representative duty and misses a minimum of 12 games.
However, given the size of Foran's contract, any relief will not cover his salary.
Foran is contracted with the Bulldogs until the end of next season but has played just 26 games for the club over the past two years as he battled various injuries.
Across the past four seasons he has averaged just 13 games per year.
Medical retirement for the injury-prone star could also be complicated given he could return to the field in 2021 with the right rehabilitation.
However, the Bulldogs could seek further medical opinions to assess whether Foran would be able to play in the future without risking more damage.
Without Foran on the field, the Bulldogs will be forced to look to to young halves Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger in 2020.
© AAP 2019