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Thurston may be back in fortnight: Cowboys

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017 Laine Clark

North Queensland coach Paul Green is hopeful Johnathan Thurston will return to the NRL from a calf injury in a fortnight.

But Green said he wouldn't be taking any risks with the Cowboys co-captain after fullback Lachlan Coote suffered a calf injury setback when he came back too early this year.

"In the past he's been a pretty good healer so we won't have him available for this week and most likely next week but we will see how he heals," Green said of Thurston.

The Cowboys mentor said they were still getting to the bottom of Thurston's injury which he sustained late in last round's shock NRL loss to Wests Tigers.

"It's a calf muscle issue but not exactly sure how bad," he said.

"He will be two to three weeks maybe."

However, Green said they would take a cautious approach after Coote's calf dramas.

Coote is battling to be fit for Saturday night's away clash with St George Illawarra.

He suffered a calf injury in round two, only to aggravate the complaint in his comeback match two weeks later.

Coote missed last round's loss to the Tigers as a result.

"You don't want to risk anyone because if he tears it properly it can be a eight to 10 week injury," Green said of Thurston.

"We don't want that for anyone, let alone JT.

"We won't risk him. We don't need to. We will get him back when he is ready to play."

Utility Ben Hampton or uncapped rookie Kyle Laybutt are in line for Thurston's No.7 jersey when the team is confirmed on Tuesday.

Thurston's unavailability and doubt over Coote adds to a mounting injury toll that already includes Matt Scott (ACL), Jake Granville (leg) and Antonio Winterstein (arm).

However, Queensland centre Justin O'Neill is set to return from a hamstring strain against the Dragons.

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