Dragons coach Paul McGregor would be willing to play Jack de Belin as early as Saturday's clash with Manly if his NRL ban is overturned by the Federal Court this week.
De Belin has been stood down since prior to the start of the season under the NRL's new "no-fault stand down" rule. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges from an alleged incident in December.
The St George Illawarra and NSW Origin lock is challenging the legality of the NRL's policy in court on Monday, with a three-day trial anticipated.
De Belin's legal challenge could also have ramifications for Manly's Dylan Walker and Penrith's Tyrone May, who have also been stood down over off-field incidents prior to legal matters being finalised in court.
The Dragons are monitoring De Belin's case closely, with McGregor not ruling out an immediate return if the 28-year-old's ban is overruled.
"What I hope happens is that he does win," McGregor said after the 40-4 demolition of Canterbury.
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"I don't know too much other than you," he told the reporters at the post-match media conference.
"Will I pick Jack, if he is mentally and physically right? Absolutely. If we play a possible and probables at training when firsts play reserve grade, then yes, he's ready."
The Dragons had initially granted de Belin time away from the club when the NRL's ban was first handed down in March, with the back-rower returning to club training a short time later as per the new rule's guidelines.
De Belin's sexual assault charges are also due for mention in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday, though he is not required to be present.
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His availability could be a significant boost for the Dragons, who have been without he and fellow big-name forwards Tyson Frizell and Korbin Sims early in the season.
While Frizell has returned sooner than expected from a lacerated testicle to star in St George Illawarra's last three wins, Sims is out for another month with a broken arm.
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Skipper Gareth Widdop remains sidelined for the best part of the season with a dislocated shoulder.
Prop Paul Vaughan is confident he will be able to take on Manly next week despite coming off with an ankle issue, with McGregor saying the NSW front-rower could have returned to the field if needed against Canterbury.