St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has all but confirmed Benji Marshall won't play against the Bronos on Friday night, the formalities of the captain's run on Thursday the final obstacle for the star half to overcome.
Having left the field inside the first 20 minutes against the Warriors last weekend, Marshall has been with the squad in Brisbane all week receiving treatment but has not yet trained with the team, McGregor not confident he can recover in time to play on Friday.
"He's very unlikely to play, that's the total truth," McGregor said.
"He will come to training today (Thursday) and have a light jog but he hasn't been on the grass yet this week.
"A week's a really short turnaround for a hamstring strain, especially when you leave the field with one. I would think at this stage he won't be playing."
McGregor was initially coy about who would take Marshall's place as Gareth Widdop's halves partner but given he has trained all week with the team under-20s halfback Drew Hutchison is almost certain to play his second NRL game.
Hutchison started at halfback in Round 18 against the Sharks and despite the Dragons going down 28-8 on that occasion, McGregor is full of confidence in the New South Wales under-20s representative.
"Drew has been with us the whole year, since the start of pre-season, so it's nothing new for him," said McGregor. "He's been around this environment for quite some time now.
"I took him out of the 20s system back in October and put him in the first grade system so he is very astute as to what he needs to do and is articulate and knows what he needs to get done.
"He did play up here against Queensland only a few weeks ago and won man of the match in the 20s as a halfback against some quality footballers so he can play footy, we've got no problems there and quite comfortable that if he does take the field he'll do a good job for us."