Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams may have to wait for an NRL return, despite his Sydney Roosters side losing key players to injury during their 24-6 defeat to Melbourne Storm.
Halves pairing Luke Keary and Lachlan Lam, along with veteran forward Mitch Aubusson, left the field with injuries during the defeat, joining the Roosters' big casualty ward that includes captain Boyd Cordner and NZ international Jared Waerea-Hargreeves.
Overall, the Roosters have 12 players sidelined and coach Trent Robinson doesn't expect any of them to return for next weekend's clash against Wests Tigers.
With his two-week COVID-19 quarantine period complete, Williams will be available for selection, but Robinson is quick to rule him out, saying the former All Black midfielder is targeting a round 17 return against Canberra Raiders.
"You need three weeks to get going, so no-one get excited about next week," says Robinson.
"We were poor tonight, we got outplayed. We could talk about injuries and how unlucky we were, but we got outplayed.
"We've had games before where we've finished with one on the bench or none on the bench, and played well... but we didn't deserve to win.
"We have to stay humble about that, take our medicine and get better as a footy team, whichever 17 run out there. There's no excuse not to play good footy and we weren't good enough tonight.
"Every time we got in decent position, we would not execute. That's down to the opposition as well, but it's on us and it was our more senior guys as well.
On Thursday, Williams left his quarantine apartment with his wife and four children, but he isn't allowed to join the Roosters' bubble until he returns a negative COVID-19 test.
"We're doing good, we're very happy," Williams told reporters, after leaving quarantine.
"I'll start training when we get the test back. It's good to get out and get some fresh air."
The Storm have gone to the top of the NRL standings, but Penrith Panthers can reclaim top spot with a franchise-record ninth straight win over NZ Warriors on Friday night.
Join us for live updates of the Warriors v Panthers NRL clash from 8pm Friday