Kilkenny hurler Adrian Mullen is expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season after tearing his cruciate ligament.
The reigning Young Hurler of the Year was stretchered off in the first half of the Cats’ Allianz League draw with Clare at Nowlan Park on Sunday.
Mullen will likely be sidelined for around nine months, which would rule the 20-year-old out of the league and Championship in 2020.
The forward enjoyed a superb campaign last year as the Cats reached the All-Ireland final, and has also won back-to-back All-Ireland SHC club titles with Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Mullen was making his first start of the season in Brian Cody’s men’s 1-13 to 3-13 draw against Clare in Kilkenny.
The Cats are currently third in Division 1 Group B on five points after four matches, one behind Wexford and two behind leaders Clare.
A win in their final round of league fixtures against Laois would seal their place in the knockout stages.