Joyce was substituted seven minutes into Cork’s league win over Dublin having fallen awkwardly on his right knee and scan results yesterday revealed he had damaged his cruciate ligament.
The 23-year old, who lined out at full-back in Cork’s three league games this spring, will today meet with an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss a surgery date. First-time cruciate victims face a minimum nine months on the sideline.
Joyce’s injury woe is the latest in a string of setbacks for the Cork set-up. Pa Cronin will sit out the remainder of the league following surgery to correct a torn tendon in his hand, while Damien Cahalane is sidelined for up to four weeks with a knee injury.
Cork selector Johnny Crowley said Joyce represented a massive loss to their league and championship aspirations.
“I am absolutely gutted for Christopher, it’s terrible news both for him and the squad,” he said.
“Christopher is an integral part of our set-up. He was an extremely hard-worker, a great team player.
“He was your model GAA player and he was going very well for us this year.
“I thought it was serious on Saturday night because Christopher is not a man that goes down easily.
“Dr Con [Murphy] feared it might be the cruciate on Saturday night and now our worst fears are after being realised.
“I am gutted for the young man. That is him more than likely gone for the season. “The injuries are starting to mount now with Pa (Cronin) and Damien (Cahalane) already out. And Bill (Cooper) already had problems with his toe this year.”
Stephen McDonnell deputised ably for Joyce in Croke Park and Crowley said the loss of the Na Piarsaigh hurler would open the door for one of his team-mates to nail down a starting berth in the Cork full-back line come championship time .
“This is why you have a panel of 31. Such is sport that someone will benefit from Christopher’s misery.
“The door opens now for someone else to step in.”