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Hiku Penrith's latest winger to go down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/03/2017 Scott Bailey
Peta Hiku of the Panthers grimaces as he lies on the ground with an injury during the round 11 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans at Pepper Stadium on May 22, 2016 in Sydney, Australia © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Peta Hiku of the Panthers grimaces as he lies on the ground with an injury during the round 11 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Gold Coast Titans at Pepper Stadium on May 22, 2016 in Sydney, Australia

Penrith's ailing NRL winger stocks have taken another hit, with Kiwis international Peta Hiku ruled out for up to a month with an eye-socket injury.

With Josh Mansour and another Kiwi, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, already ruled out for the opening stages of the season, Hiku played on in Saturday's loss to St George Illawarra despite copping a huge bump to the face early.

However it was revealed to be a fracture on Monday, and club doctors have ruled him out for a month.

"He's cracked his eye socket," coach Anthony Griffin said.

"It was in the first five minutes, so he's a tough kid, he played on."

Hiku was forced to fight to re-claim his position throughout the pre-season after missing the second-half of 2016 with a knee injury, but is now unlikely to return until at least round six against South Sydney.

It's also left Penrith with a distinct shortage of backs heading into Sunday's clash with Wests Tigers at Campbelltown.

Griffin on Monday confirmed that he would not rush Watene-Zelezniak back, who underwent minor knee surgery last month to remove floating cartilage.

"He's started his rehab and is going really well," Griffin said.

"He'll be definitely next week for the Roosters."

Instead, Watene-Zelezniak's brother, Malakai, will come into the frame to replace Hiku, along with 20-year-old Dylan Edwards and Michael Oldfield.

Mansour is also not due back from a serious knee injury until mid-season.

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