Justin Hodges isn't going out like this. The champion Broncos centre knows a second ruptured Achilles has ended his season but insists it won't end his NRL career.
The 31-year-old went down like he was hit by lightning in the first half of Brisbane's 26-24 win against the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium. Soon after he was helped from the field the diagnosis filtered around the ground.
Hodges spent almost 12 months out of action in 2010 when he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right foot during the pre-season.
This time it is his left foot. The recovery could be as short as nine months but as long as a year, putting him in doubt for more than half of the 2014 season and next year's Origin series.
Hodges courageously fronted up to the media after the game and said he was determined not to let yet another injury – and he's had a few – see him end his career on crutches.
He said he know from the moment he hit the turf that his Achilles was gone but had the hunger and drive to forge through yet another period of difficult rehabilitation.
"No player ever wants to retire injured. That's not me. That's not how I'm built. I've had many injuries and it tests your character. It's not going to be the end. I'll fight," Hodges said.
"I've come back before from my right one and it's no drama. Now it's about letting it heal and not worrying. It's the end of the season for me. I need to take my time and get it right."
Hodges remained at the ground to see Brisbane keep their finals hopes alive but will be back in all-too-familiar familiar surrounds this week as goes under the knife on Tuesday.
From that point, he said, it was a matter of staying resilient and facing another test of character. Given the litany of injuries he has endured to his Achilles, shoulder, hamstrings, back and knee, Hodges has all the experience in the world when it comes to comebacks.
"It's hard. Nobody wants to get injured. But I know what it takes to get back. But I'll get it done and finish my career off the way I wanted," Hodges said.
"What is meant to be is meant to be. I need to focus all of my energy into getting well. It's not the end of me. I'll be bouncing back bigger and better next year. It's a good challenge. Bring it on."
His recovery from the first Achilles rupture took longer than anticipated but nothing is certain when it comes to Hodges' body, which has proven to be an enigma for Broncos medical staff.
"I've done it before so it's a bit of a long road. I've bounced back from one before. I know what to do. Having that experience last time, I'm very confident," Hodges said.
"Last time I had a few setbacks. Hopefully I get some smooth sailing."
Hodges backed Jordan Kahu to step up in his absence for the remaining four games of the season, all of which Brisbane needs to win if they are a chance to play in the finals.
Utility forwards David Stagg and Matt Gillett, who was superb against the Dragons, are also options given the injuries to Brisbane's backline stocks.