South Sydney five-eighth Luke Keary says the team's Round 15 bye gave him a welcome chance to stay off his injured foot as he looks to manage the injury through not just this year but potentially his entire career.
A cartilage problem in his foot from an injury first suffered in the lead-up to last year's grand final win requires weekly painkilling injections and caused his controversial withdrawal from the City Origin side earlier this year.
Possible surgeries to correct the damage would put him out for anywhere between three and 12 months, leading Keary to suggest he may look to play through the pain for his entire career.
"'Madge' [Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire] gave me a bit of extra time off," Keary said of the Round 15 bye week that saw several teammates leave town for a couple of days.
"I stayed off the feet for seven or eight days there and I'm feeling pretty fresh now."
Keary described the injury as an ongoing one that he has to manage each day.
"They look at it every morning, see how it's going, if they think the load's too heavy or I need to stay off my feet the doctor and the physio will sort that out and let me know but other than that it's a day-by-day thing.
"I'll train all this week. I've had the week off so I feel good at the moment, I'm feeling fine."
The Rabbitohs desperately need their first-choice halves firing after a shock last-start loss to a Wests Tigers side missing Origin stars Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods in Round 14.
"It was a disappointing and it wasn't us. We had to review that game and we all took ownership for how we played and we're over it now and looking to move on," Keary said of that game – one of just seven this year in which he has started alongside Adam Reynolds in the halves as knee and thumb injuries kept the latter out of a chunk of this season.
"We obviously identified a few areas we were very poor in and we'll be looking to improve on them this week."
Keary said he hoped the pair would now be able to stay on the park for an extended period and rebuild their playmaking partnership.
On Friday they face Manly, who are coming off a much-needed win against the Tigers – the same side that trounced the Rabbitohs a week earlier – and Keary described their 30-20 win at Brookvale last Friday as "really impressive".
"I watched their game against Wests and I thought they were really impressive actually. They're playing some good footy, Kieran [Foran] and Daly [Cherry-Evans] are starting to link up and play some good footy," he said.
"Their forwards, they're getting a couple back from injury and they look to be playing some good footy. They've strung a couple of wins together and they seem to turn up and play really good footy when they play us too."
Keary described coming up against elite halves pairings such as Manly's duo of Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran as an enjoyable challenge.
"They're probably one of the best combinations and they've proved that over a number of years now. Coming up against halves like that, it's good fun and it's a good challenge and we'll be up for it on Friday."
The five-eighth wasn't sure whether Souths recruit Glenn Stewart would be back from a thumb injury in time to face his old club and brother Brett for the first time in the NRL.
"I'm not sure, the old fella, we'll have to get him out on the field and see how he's going but it will be up to the doctor and Madge and the physio to decide whether he's right to go," Keary said.
"I haven't spoken to him [about it], we'll get out on the field with him [and] have a look at him trot around, the big thoroughbred."