Tyson Frizell's chances of lining up for New South Wales in Origin III on July 12 appear to be hanging by a thread while the news was more positive on Dragons teammate Josh Dugan after the pair failed to finish Friday night's 20-10 loss to the Titans on the Gold Coast.
Carrying rib and ankle injuries into the game, Frizell suffered a back injury that forced him from the field five minutes into the second half, coach Paul McGregor not wishing to risk any further damage by sending him back out there late in the game.
Dugan limped from the field seven minutes after Frizell with what initially appeared to be a hamstring strain to his right leg but which McGregor confirmed was a cork just above his knee, an injury that shouldn't prevent him from taking the field for the Blues in 12 days' time.
The picture isn't quite so clear for Frizell who was in obvious discomfort in the first half as he was kept to just six runs for 55 metres.
"We rolled the dice with a couple of them going in to be honest," McGregor said of an injury toll that also claimed debutant Blake Lawrie with concussion early in the second half.
"'Friz' (Frizell) took an injury in and copped another one during the game. 'Duges' (Dugan) had a cork and got another knock on that just on top of his knee and then the young kid making his debut, young 'Blocker' (Lawrie), got knocked out.
"It's a different injury [to Frizell]. That's why he didn't come back on. It's his back. It's not lower back, I think it's mid-back.
"He was able to come back on but he was limping when he was out there as you seen for most of the first half anyway so to put him back out there wasn't the right thing to do for his welfare.
"I didn't want to put him back out there."
Only a win by the Cowboys over the Raiders on Saturday night would see the Dragons drop from their current position of sixth on the Telstra Premiership table and with a bye next week McGregor has a chance to rest his troops for a post-Origin charge to September.
After winning six of their first seven games of the season the Dragons have won just three of their past nine and struggled to have the same impact through the middle third of the field in the absence of prop Paul Vaughan.
St George Illawarra also trialled a new halves combination of Gareth Widdop and Kurt Mann that failed to produce a try in their 52 minutes together, McGregor confident that continuity will help them to rediscover their early-season form.
"We haven't had the same team on the park since Round 8. That's the truth of it," McGregor said.
"That's not an excuse but that's the truth. A few blokes are tired and busted and playing with needles.
"Every team is going through something and the other room (the Titans) has probably got the same. They went through it a little bit earlier, we're just going through ours now.
"I don't know how healthy we'll come out of the bye either. We've still got a few blokes that if they play Origin we play two days after it – we play against Canberra on the Friday night – so we'll have to see how they pull up.
"There's no doubt we're still in a good position to make finals footy. We'll just get started again."
This article first appeared on NRL.com