Shaun Kenny-Dowall says the life-changing injury sustained by his close friend Mase Masoe has hit him hard.
Masoe's career was ended by a severe spinal injury sustained in a trial match for Hull KR last month following a routine hit-up.
The giant prop remains in a specialist unit at a Yorkshire hospital as he begins his battle to walk again.
Although 30-year-old cannot feel anything from the waist down, the Samoan international is still able to flex his feet, knees and quadriceps and medicos have been encouraged by his progress.
Kenny-Dowall and Masoe have been friends since teenagers when they represented New Zealand schoolboys and the pair came through Sydney Roosters' lower grade teams together.
Masoe was Kenny-Dowall's sounding board when he was weighing up whether to swap Newcastle for east Yorkshire last year and he admits he's devastated by what has happened to his good mate.
"It's awful what's happened to Mose, he's such a gentle giant and it has hit all of us in the squad very hard," Kenny-Dowall told AAP.
"But I know he is in great spirits staying positive and still smiling.
"That fight he is showing has really influenced the boys and we are playing for him in many ways this season.
"He and his family are staying very positive and we are all there right behind him."
Reaction has been overwhelming around the city of Hull where the local community have raised almost $100,000 to help the family of Masoe, whose wife is pregnant with their fourth child.
Betting company BetFred, who are Super League's main sponsor, are also donating STG250 ($A480) to Masoe for every try that's scored in a live televised match this season.
Later this month Roosters coach Trent Robinson and skipper Boyd Cordner will attend a Q&A session in Hull ahead of the club's World Club Challenge clash against St Helens with all proceeds going to Masoe.
Bitter cross-city rivalries were put to one side on Friday night when Hull FC and Rovers played out a thrilling encounter which saw Hull win 25-16.
Both sets of supporters donned Masoe masks with bucket collections taking place around the KComm Stadium.