Queensland captain Cameron Smith says Cooper Cronk will still be considered for Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener even if he misses the captain’s run on match eve.
Cronk has been icing his ankle round-the-clock since Friday’s training mishap but emerged from his room at their Gold Coast camp and walked unassisted to Monday’s team meeting without crutches or a moon boot.
“I reckon he is a chance of playing, although there is no guarantee at the moment,” Smith said of the halfback.
“He still has a fair amount of swelling but the medical staff feel he is a pretty good chance of playing.”
Cronk was initially expected to have to prove his fitness by the captain’s run in Sydney on Tuesday.
But Smith did not rule out new Queensland coach Kevin Walters making a final call on Cronk just before kick-off.
“Given his experience at this level and his understanding of our gameplan, if he’s not quite right for that (captain’s run) we won’t risk him and he will get up for Wednesday,” he said.
“But there’s no issue with him missing training during the week and then him slotting back in for the game.
“We’ve still got a bit of time up our sleeve which is good.”
Smith said Michael Morgan had impressed while stepping up at training in Cronk’s absence.
Morgan has slotted into five-eighth with his Cowboys halves partner Johnathan Thurston wearing the No.7 jersey.
“Our preparation has been spot on (without Cronk) – our staff have not been worried too much,” Smith said.
“Michael has been training there and he’s been going very well.
“The partnership he shares with Thurston could be vital to our performance but it’s out of our hands at the moment – we are just hopeful Cooper gets up.”
Smith said the final word on Cronk may be left to the player himself.
“The bloke is 32, he knows his own body,” Smith said.
“When you are dealing with a rookie that is when the medical staff makes a decision.
“But Cooper will have a fair say into whether he is ready to go or not.”
Queensland leave the Gold Coast and fly into Sydney on Monday afternoon.