Melbourne centre Reimis Smith will miss the remainder of the 2022 season after aggrevating the pectoral injury he sustained against St George Illawarra in round nine.
Smith joined the Storm from Canterbury last year and immediately became a regular in their best 17.
He has since re-signed until the end of 2024 and had been on track to return from injury before the finals series.
"I was working extremely hard and looking forward to getting back on the field with the guys in the next few weeks but unfortunately we have hit a bit of a hurdle which has set me back," Smith said.
"I will do everything that I can to get back and will be here to support the team for the rest of this year.
"It has been hard watching from the sidelines but I have had great support from the club and the fans."
In Smith's absence, Marion Seve has become a fixture of the starting line-up but teams have begun to exploit the inexperience of the Storm's outside backline, especially now that winger Xavier Coates is also injured.
In last week's game alone, Manly scored six of their seven tries through their outside backs and the remaining try through edge back-rower Haumole Olakau'atu.
The Storm will need to tighten their edge defence for Thursday night's game against Cronulla or risk suffering a similar fate as between them the Sharks' first-choice wingers Sione Katoa and Ronaldo Mulitalo have scored 23 tries so far this season.
With a loss, the Storm will slip into third position on the ladder with the same number of competition points as the fourth-placed Sharks.
Australian Associated Press
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