Cootamundra’s Jack de Belin is in a race against time to be fit for St George Illawarra’s next finals game.
The Bulldogs junior re-aggravated an ankle injury in the Dragons surprise 48-18 win over Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.
He’s in doubt for another do-or-die final against South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday.
However the early prognosis looks promising for the State Of Origin player.
de Belin came off early in the second half but the 27-year-old rated himself a "better than 50 per cent chance" after leaving a game for the second straight week in a moon boot and on crutches with an ankle complaint.
"To be honest with you, I haven’t had a needle in my body – this is my eighth year of first grade – I pretty much haven’t had a needle for seven years," de Belin told Fairfax Media.
"My whole career I haven’t had a needle but this year for more than half the year I’ve been getting needled.
"It’s one of those things, I’m very lucky in that sense that it's only something minor. If a needle helps me play then I’m more than willing to get jabbed up."
The lock played 52 minutes in the big win, making 22 tackles and running for 68 metres in that time.
He is resigned to finishing the rest of the finals series with the help of pain-killing injections as a wounded Dragons eye another big scalp.
Battling ankle syndesmosis, de Belin started for the Dragons despite spending the week on crutches, with just a light run on Friday.
Dragons high-performance boss Nathan Pickworth backed de Belin to do it all again after playing down the complaint.
"The moment that he had out there may not be as bad as you might think," he said.
de Belin is far from the only injury concern for St George Illawarra.
They’ve lost English international Gareth Widdop after he dislocated his shoulder again in the win on Sunday.
Compatriot James Graham concussion is being monitored however Euan Aitken and Jason Nightingale close in on returns.
With Aitken and Nightingale named in their 21-man squad last week it has put pressure on the place of Temora’s Zac Lomax in the centres.