Dan Walsh, NRL.com
Trent Robinson has confirmed Jake Friend remains a possibility of playing again in 2014 after the Roosters hooker was discharged from hospital late on Tuesday.
Friend underwent surgery earlier in the week for a chest injury that had him struggling to breathe, and suffering from dizziness and vomiting in the aftermath of his side's 24-12 win over Melbourne last weekend.
The injury was diagnosed as a Haemothorax – essentially collection of blood in the chest cavity – and an operation on Monday successfully located the source of the bleeding before Friend was cleared of any infection and allowed to return home after 72 hours in the intensive care unit at Randwick's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Robinson said Friend was in good spirits despite the health scare, and indicated a return for finals football remained a possibility for the 25-year-old rake.
"It is a possibility that he will play in finals," Robinson said.
"He's bruised and battered but he's a fighter so he's on the mend.
"Friendy as usual he's as tough as they come, he's a Queenslander so he doesn't say much. But he's pretty strong, he's taken it in his stride."
A return for Week 3 of the finals appears to be the earliest return date for Friend. Should the Roosters finish the regular season in the top two, which a win over the Rabbitohs this Thursday would confirm, a follow-up victory in the first week of the finals would ensure their influential dummy-half only misses two games.
It is unclear when Friend can resume training, and Robinson confirmed the Roosters' first priority was Friend returning to full health.
"Like anybody that goes through that it's about getting back to day dot, back to health, and then he can get back to fitness," Robinson said.
"Our focus at the moment is getting him back to health.
"The length of that recovery to health will decide if he does get back to some fitness to play in the finals. I'd never back Jake out."
Robinson has named utility Mitch Aubusson to start in Friend's place for the clash with arch-rivals South Sydney, and confirmed back-up hooker Heath L'Estrange's recovery from what was feared to be a season-ending knee injury suffered two weeks ago had been fast tracked due to Friend's absence.
"We thought it was going to be the season but [L'Estrange] has recovered well," he said.
"It is earlier because of Jake, so he'll need to get it sorted pretty well tomorrow night for a short stint. But he's a pretty seasoned footy player and he's pretty courageous so he'll get it done."