Unlucky Penrith captain Peter Wallace's latest season-ending injury won't prematurely bring an end to his NRL career, according to Panthers five-eighth Jamie Soward.
Scans on Monday confirmed Wallace's season is over after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament for the second time in as many seasons.
It is the third time in 12 months the 29-year-old will have surgery on his right knee, having had cartilage cleaned out earlier this year, forcing him to miss six matches.
Wallace has one more year remaining on his contract, but Soward is confident his teammate's latest setback won't force him into early retirement.
"He'll come back, he'll come back for sure," Soward said.
"I don't think it's as bad as what it has been in the past.
"Knowing `Wal' and how stubborn he is, and how much of a competitor he is, he'll come back from this and he'll be leading our club next year."
Soward admitted he was rocked when he found out his halves partner would miss the final six games of the season.
It has been a difficult time for Wallace, whose mother lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this season.
"He's one of my better mates - my halfback and my captain," Soward said.
"What he's been through the last two years has been unbelievable.
"Personally, it's shaken me up a little bit. But it's next man up.
"I'm sure he wouldn't want us dropping our bundle. We need to get ready for the premiers (South Sydney) this week."
Wallace injured his knee in the first half of Sunday's loss to Canberra but finished the game.
"He had his head down after the game, so I knew something was up," Soward said.
"He still led the team in the second half ... which shows the kind of character he is."
The season could also be over for centre Dean Whare, who broke his thumb against the Raiders and is expected to miss up to six weeks.