Melbourne's Kiwi Test backrower Tohu Harris is set to miss the opening weeks of the NRL season with a stress fracture in his foot which was diagnosed after their final trial against the Bulldogs in Hobart.
"He's had a sore foot for a little bit and we thought it was part of an ankle injury but it wasn't so he's in a boot for a little bit and it will take him a while to get back," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
That leaves the Storm without either of their backrowers from last year's grand final, with Kevin Proctor now playing with Gold Coast.
Melbourne veteran Billy Slater will also miss the first few rounds of the NRL season as he continues his comeback from shoulder surgery.
Bellamy said Slater's recovery is tracking well but they don't want to risk him with their round one clash with the Bulldogs at Belmore Oval next Friday night looming.
"We're really happy with the way it's progressing but I'm pretty sure he won't be playing the first couple of rounds," Bellamy said at the Storm's season launch.
"We've waited a long time so we're not going to take any risks with him physically or mentally."
The absence of Slater means Bellamy must decide between shifting his first choice five-eighth Cameron Munster back to fullback, which he so ably covered last year, or trying to get his new halves combination settled. Munster will move into the No.6 jersey this season following the departure of Blake Green to Manly. "That's the situation we're in," Bellamy said.
"Obviously Cameron has trained mostly in the halves in the pre-season so to put him back there would be a big call but having said that we've got to do what we think is best thing for the team. "Hopefully by Monday or Tuesday we will know what we're doing and train from there."
Injuries aside, Bellamy said he felt his team were in good shape ahead of round one. "The trials have been pretty good - we were a bit unhappy with our first 20 minutes last week but the boys fought back strongly in the second half."