Newcastle have suffered a scare with star halfback Mitchell Pearce leaving the field with a suspected pectoral muscle injury during their NRL clash with St George Illawarra.

The 301-game veteran was taken off 25 minutes into Sunday’s game at McDonald Jones Stadium clutching at his upper chest and in clear pain.

It comes almost three years after Pearce suffered a ruptured right pec which ruled him out for almost three months.

Sunday’s incident happened innocuously when Pearce threw his arm out in an attempt to tackle Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims but only his hand connected.

Pearce then tried to get back into the defensive line, but was in pain and he was taken up the tunnel soon after with the Knights leading 6-0.

The Knights already have a lengthy injured list, missing star fullback Kalyn Ponga, who is expected to be close to a return in round five, as well as second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon, centre Bradman Best and winger Edrick Lee.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 2019 NFC Champs - get your gear on at Fanatics