Ricky Stuart insists any injury to Josh Papalii won't kill off the Raiders' NRL season, adamant his depleted middle can punch above their weight again.
Papalii suffered as suspected AC joint injury in his shoulder early in Saturday night's 18-6 loss to the Sydney Roosters, and did not return in the second half.
Canberra will wait on how the powerhouse forward recovers, but any time on the sidelines could be crucial given their numerous injuries in the middle this year.
But after being written off numerous times this year when they at one stage had eight forwards missing, Stuart maintained his remaining men could again defy any critics.
"We'll find out how serious it is. For Josh not to come back on, he's obviously feeling it," Stuart said.
"If Josh is out we'll find someone to fill the jumper.
"I said it six or seven weeks ago when everyone wrote us off.
"No one gave us the ability to show what's inside this playing group. The mentality.
"They have shown you how much spirit is in there."
If Papalii is missing, Dunamis Lui would likely step back into a starting role while rookie Kai O'Donnell is one option to come onto the bench.
Sia Soliola is the only middle likely to return from the casualty ward before the finals, having not played since round eight due to a facial fracture.
Saturday night's loss left the Raiders fifth, needing results to go their way to make the top four and a shot at a valuable week off during the finals.
"I didn't hinge just (the Roosters game) on the top four. There is still some football to be played," Stuart said.
"It was an important two points.
"More for me the way we played in the second half was more disappointing than losing the two points.
"We were really loose. It just wasn't us."