Sharks back-rower Briton Nikora.

Sharks second-rower Briton Nikora went from appearing down and out with an ankle injury to playing a key role in his side's 16-14 win over the Cowboys on Thursday night.

Nikora spent an extended period in the first half on the ground after tweaking his ankle in a tackle. He was examined by a trainer before eventually limping back into the line.

With stars including Wade Graham, Andrew Fifita and Matt Moylan already missing, and young forward Billy Magoulias on debut, the Sharks could ill afford to lose an 80-minute back-rower.

While rookie of the year contender Nikora has caught the eye running damaging lines on the right edge it was his defence that was crucial on Thursday, with his tally of 36 (and just one missed) the third most for the Sharks.

One of those was an absolute bell-ringer on prop Matt Scott as the Cowboys threatened to break away in the second half.

"Yeah it's fine, just a little niggle I've had throughout the season but it should be right," Nikora told NRL.com.

"Once I got moving on it and strapped it a bit more it wasn't too bad after that. It's been an ongoing thing for a little bit but it's not too bad."

Nikora does not expect to miss any game time with the injury.

The win snapped a five-game losing run for the Sharks and moves them at least temporarily to equal eighth on the ladder.

"It was good to get back in the winner's circle and good running lines off Shauny. Just trying to get my timing right and hit the right holes there," Nikora said.

"It's just hanging in there and playing an 80-minute game. We've been not playing 80 minutes the last few weeks and got done a few times by two points or one point so that was our focus, play an 80-minute game.

"We've just got to stay in the winner's circle, keep knocking on the door, keep getting those little wins."