John Bateman's return to the NRL could be stalled with Wests Tigers' star English recruit suffering a mystery injury during their 24-12 loss to Melbourne.
In his second game of the season, Bateman set up the Tigers' opening try at AAMI Park on Friday, pushing aside the Storm defence before getting a pass away to fellow second-rower Isaiah Papali'i, who found speedster Asu Kepaoa.
With 14 runs, five tackle breaks and 45 tackles from his 80 minutes, he also provided a competitive edge for the visitors, with his niggling play unsettling his opponents.
While the Tigers remain anchored to the bottom of the NRL ladder, still searching for their first win, they may be without Bateman for the next round's tough trip to Brisbane to take on the unbeaten Broncos.
Tigers coach Tim Sheens said post match that ex-Raider Bateman had suffered an injury, and shouldn't have returned for the second half.
"He played with an issue that most people people wouldn't - he came back out in the second half when he probably shouldn't have," Sheens said.
"But he's a tough kid, there's no doubt about that so he's added some steel to our forwards.
"I'm looking forward to the season developing and him developing within our team given that he's done no pre-season with us at all."
Sheens wouldn't reveal what the injury was but said the 29-year-old, who had two years out of the NRL, was in danger of missing next week.
"I'd prefer not to say but we'll need a scan and we'll check on his issue so we will wait and see."
Sheens lamented some poor finishing from his troops, unable to make the most of their attacking opportunities.
They were able to keep the Storm tryless in the second half, which is no easy task on their home turf.
"Every bounce of every ball seemed to go Melbourne's way but I'm pleased with the effort," he said.
"They didn't put their heads down - they're disappointed and I'm disappointed as well."
The Tigers did themselves no favours in the second half when they lost a scrum against the feed, with reserve Melbourne rake Bronson Garlick hooking the ball back for his team.
Sheens was shocked by the coach-killing outcome.
"That just shouldn't happen, not in today's game anyway," he said.