Tom Trbojevic will have to tick every box to make his NRL return for Manly this year as the Sea Eagles continue to proceed with caution on his injured hamstring.
Manly will again run out Tevita Funa as fullback against Wests Tigers on Saturday with up-and-coming five-eighth Josh Schuster tipped to debut.
But questions persist over Trbojevic, who was initially considered a chance to return as early as round 12 but is still yet to resume full running.
The Sea Eagles are out of finals contention with four rounds to play, prompting questions on whether it is worth risking bringing back their superstar fullback.
Coach Des Hasler says while that's not part of his thinking, not taking any risks to ensure Trbojevic is fit for 2021 is paramount.
"It's probably not a matter of you play him or don't play him, he will only be played if every single box is ticked," Hasler said on Friday.
"We've been extremely cautious.
"If we were in a regular year and he comes back in round 19, there are still six rounds to go.
"It's just a matter of ticking the boxes. If the time is right and everything is okay, he'll play.
"It'll be another couple of weeks at least."
Manly have won just two games since Trbojevic went down in round six, as they fell from top-four contention to out of the finals altogether.
He is now arguably just as important to the club as Andrew Johns was to Newcastle at the turn of the century.
It has also prompted questions on whether Manly would allow him to be risked in an end-of-year State of Origin series for NSW.
Tom's brother Jake insisted this week the 23-year-old would still be desperate to play, but Hasler was more cautious on the chances on Friday.
"That is something we will have to determine," Hasler said.
"Freddy (Coach Brad Fittler) and the Origin selectors are probably in the same category, waiting to see how he is and how he comes back.
"I'm sure they would like to see him with a couple of games under his belt."
Meanwhile, Hasler said his club had no interest in bringing Kieran Foran back next year, with the five-eighth set to leave Canterbury.
Foran won a premiership under Hasler and playing alongside Daly Cherry-Evans in 2011.
However, Hasler said faith in Manly's youth and anticipated smaller roster sizes meant Foran would not return.
STATS THAT MATTER:
* Manly have won nine of 11 against Wests Tigers at Lottoland.
* Manly have scored 16 of their 45 tries this year in sets starting from scrums, the most in the NRL.
* David Nofoaluma's 14 tries this year is the most ever through 16 rounds at the Tigers.