Parramatta back-rower Brad Takairangi says the signs are positive for his fractured eye socket and is eyeing an earlier return than the initial prognosis.
Takairangi copped an accidental stray elbow in his team's 54-0 loss to Manly in round two and was initially expected to miss eight weeks.
However, he told NRL.com on Tuesday that despite three fractures to his eye socket, he has avoided surgery and hopes to be back in four to six weeks.
"It looks all right now but a few days after the injuries, it was pretty ugly looking," Takairangi laughed of the week-and-a-half old injury.
"Luckily, I won't need surgery so hopefully I can come back between that four to six week mark. No plates [need to be inserted] which is good. I've got a check up again with the surgeon [on Wednesday] but fingers crossed sooner than later."
Takairangi was particularly disappointed to get injured while the team is travelling poorly and desperately seeking to restore some pride after the big Manly loss. He felt the commitment was better in the one-try-apiece 14-4 loss to Cronulla but more improvement is needed.
"It was tough watching on the weekend. The effort was a lot better than our first two weeks which was good to see but I hate watching from the sidelines. Like I said, hopefully I'm back sooner rather than later," he added.
"Last year at the start of the year, we lost four in a row [from rounds 3-6] so it's something that's not foreign to us. Obviously, we don't want to be where we are but we're so confident in the squad that we've got, Brad [Arthur] is a great leader, I'm sure if we keep putting in the effort, the results will start to turn.
"He leads from the front, he does all the training with us as well, all the boys have got so much respect for him and we wouldn't want any other bloke leading the way for us. He sets a really good example. The leadership group underneath him, hopefully we can keep ripping in at training and hopefully the results turn for us."
The Eels face a Wests Tigers outfit who have been highly impressive, with two wins and a golden point loss in their three games so far against the top three finishing sides of 2017. Parramatta won last year's Easter Monday clash but will face a tougher ask this year against a Tigers outfit that has conceded just two tries in three games.
"We won last year which was good but the Tigers are on fire, they've started the year really well so it's going to be a challenge for us but no better way to kick start our season than with a win on Monday."
Train travel to and from the game is included with all tickets to Monday's match with up to four children aged 12 and under admitted free with pre-purchased adult GA tickets.