Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall says he remains confident of facing the Parramatta Eels on Easter Monday despite rupturing two ankle ligaments in a golden point loss to Brisbane last week.
Marshall got his ankle strapped and finished the gruelling contest against the Broncos despite struggling to put weight on his left ankle. It was a performance that should leave no-one in doubt about his commitment to the club that made him a star.
With recruit Josh Reynolds still sidelined with the hamstring strain he suffered shortly before the team's season-opening upset win against the Roosters, Marshall has been a crucial player in their two upset wins and one narrow loss, against the top three finishing teams of 2017.
With Reynolds almost no chance of featuring in round four, utility playmaker Tuimoala Lolohea is far more likely to return from a knee strain, however, Marshall's inclusion against a desperate Eels side will be pivotal for the Tigers' hopes.
"It's ruptured lateral ligaments – two of them," Marshall said on Tuesday.
"It's not too bad… I can still sort of probably play with that.
"The problem is to get the swelling out of the ankle and try and get range back. To run you need range in your ankle. For that the swelling has to go so I've been working around the clock to try and get it right.
"I haven't run yet, I won't try and run 'til Thursday or Saturday then if I feel all right I'll play."
Having previously had surgery for a syndesmosis injury in his other ankle, Marshall said as soon as he knew it wasn't the same type of injury he grew more hopeful of not missing a game this time around.
"Potentially one or two weeks but it's a long turnaround [to Monday] so I'm going to give myself every chance to play," he said.
"If I don't feel right Saturday then I probably won't play but I'm pretty confident I'll be sweet.
"It helps having a long turnaround, but with this injury the first few days is important with icing, compression, elevation just to get the swelling out. If you had have seen my leg yesterday you wouldn't believe it's the same leg today.
"I was in a moon boot for four days just to try and control the swelling and stay off it. I feel ok, still a bit swollen. I've just got to do a bit more work over the next few days."
Marshall said the team hadn't put any focus on the number of unavailable players, which last week included their first-choice fullback, five-eighth and hooker in Lolohea, Reynolds and Jacob Liddle.
"It would be nice to have those guys there but at the moment we can only deal with what we've got and at the moment it's been looking all right," he added.
"There hasn't been an issue with not having those guys there. I think Jacob's on the verge of playing this week. Josh probably not so much this week. Tui's probably playing this week. There's guys coming back but when you perform well it's tough to get back in the team so that's up to Ivan when they're available whether they play or not.
"Depth is something we probably haven't had the Tigers for a long time so to be able to have that depth – [back-up hookers] Pita Godinet and Matt McIlwrick have done a pretty solid job considering the amount of first grade they've actually played in the last few years.
"That's the thing with our club, we don't make excuses, whoever steps in does the job and if you don't do your job someone else will be put there."