Dylan Walker is likely to miss Manly’s clash with Newcastle this weekend despite the injured State of Origin centre returning to training.
Walker has not played since he broke his hand while punching his front door in a late-night incident earlier this month.
He was originally set to miss up to a month with the blow, but his appearance at a ball work and defensive session on Thursday sparked hopes he could be set for an early return on Sunday.
But Manly coach Trent Barrett said it was unlikely.
“We will have to wait and see how his hand pulls up,” Barrett said.
“It is unlikely at the moment, but we will see how we go.
“We certainly won’t rush him back if he is not right, but it would be a nice bonus to have him in the side.”
If Walker does return, he could do so in place of winger Matthew Wright.
Wright injured his foot in Monday’s 20-12 win over South Sydney, but has been named for the clash against Newcastle at Brookvale Oval.
If he is ruled out, Brayden Wiliame would likely shift to the wing as cover, with Walker playing in the centres.
“It wasn’t as bad as we first thought, so he is a chance as well,” Barrett said of Wright’s foot.
The Sea Eagles will also be without injured hooker Matt Parcell for the vital clash, but they are hopeful he can return from more than a month and a half on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury next week.
Barrett also indicated injured fullback Brett Stewart would “be pushing it” in order to return before the end of the season.
Meanwhile fellow veteran Steve Matai has been given time to consider his future after undergoing successful neck surgery.
“We have sent Steve away for a couple of weeks and to get his head around with what he is doing,” Barrett added.
“He is a huge part of our club, an inspirational player. We all hope he will be back (for next year).”