Dragons in the wars as Howell suffers
season injury.

St George Illawarra forward Michael Howell underwent brain surgery in Liverpool Hospital last night.

The young back rower suffered bleeding on the brain after copping a head knock in the Wests Tigers v Dragons first Division encounter last Sunday.

The injury puts him out for the season but Dragons' officials believe he'll be able to make a return in 2003.

Meanwhile, second rower Justin Smith, who was carted off in the 31st minute of the first grade match, has been cleared of any neck injury and should be fit for Friday night's game against Newcastle. Centre, Lee Hookey who was stretchered off with a back injury after just 3 minutes has been cleared of any serious injury.

However, Shaun Timmins is still in doubt after suffering leg problems late in the first grade fixture won by Saints 42-8.