By just about all accounts, injury has sidelined NRL superstar Johnathan Thurston for two weeks.
But it appears someone has forgotten to tell his North Queensland coach Paul Green.
The Cowboys’ mentor hasn’t ruled out Thurston making a shock start against Melbourne on Saturday night, in a top-three clash that could decide the minor premiership, despite not officially naming the Test playmaker on Tuesday.
Thurston went down with a hamstring injury in last round’s 36-0 romp over Canterbury, prompting calls that the four-time Dally M Medallist would be sidelined for at least a fortnight.
Yet, on Tuesday, it was news to Green.
“According to everyone else, it is two games,” Green said.
“But we have got a pretty good high performance unit and medical staff, we won’t be taking any unnecessary risks with him but he will be back sooner rather than later.
“At this stage, he has got a few days’ rest which was already planned … once he comes back from that, we will monitor how he feels.”
The top-four race was supposed to have been blown wide open by Thurston’s injury.
The three-time Golden Boot winner was expected to at least miss not only the Storm clash but also next round’s away showdown with the Wests Tigers.
But asked if Thurston could play against second-placed Melbourne, Green said: “We will see how he goes.
“We will monitor him. Scan results are fairly inconclusive.
“There is something going on there but it’s nothing too concerning at the moment.”
In the meantime, Ray Thompson has been named in the halves for injured No.7 Thurston.
Green predicted Queensland State of Origin player Michael Morgan would step up if Thurston was officially ruled out.
He liked how Cowboys half Morgan responded after Thurston limped off against the Bulldogs.
“Morgs grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck last week,” Green said.
“It’s about stepping up and taking some ownership of the team.”
Asked if defending premiers North Queensland were still a one-man band, Green said: “I firmly believe we have moved past that.
“I think we proved that last year.”