Billy Slater’s NRL season is finished with the superstar fullback undergoing shoulder surgery.
However, Melbourne are adamant Slater’s illustrious career is not over.
Slater went under the knife on Tuesday in Sydney.
He is expected to be sidelined for between six and eight months, ruling him out of the rest of this season.
Slater played in the Storm’s round one win over St George Illawarra, but withdrew from their round two win over Gold Coast due to the injury. He missed the final third of last season because of a problem with the same shoulder.
“Billy Slater has this afternoon undergone surgery on his injured left shoulder,” the Storm said in Tuesday evening in a statement.
“The arthroscope revealed further issues with his shoulder that needed attention, the result of which will see Slater sidelined for 6-8 months.
“The surgeon was very happy with the surgery and is confident Slater will make a full and successful recovery.”
There were fears the ongoing shoulder drama could have spelt the end of the career of the 32-year-old, who has played 278 games across 14 seasons. But Storm football manager Frank Ponissi indicated the Queensland and Australian superstar would play on.
“While we are hugely disappointed to hear the extent of Billy’s injury, we are very pleased to hear the medical team expect him to make a full and successful recovery,” Ponissi said.
Storm centre Will Chambers said Slater’s teammates were feeling for him.
“It’s disappointing for everyone else around the club as well,” Chambers said.
“Bill is a big part of this club and has been for a long time. It’s very disappointing.”
Chambers also said that while Slater was trying to remain positive, he was naturally upset.
“It’s obviously devastating for him,” he said.
“The news that he had to go back in and had to find out what’s wrong with his shoulder is obviously hard.
“He doesn’t know – he’s just got to wait and see what’s in store ahead.”