Sharks coach Josh Hannay won't take any risks with Wade Graham after his latest head knock and believes the captain will play an important role while sidelined.
Hannay said the upbeat Graham, fortunately, doesn't have any "lingering symptoms" following his fourth head knock of the season in last Friday's 19-18 win over Penrith.
The 30-year-old passed his HIA but was ruled out given his recent history.
The second-rower was given this week off to recharge but stopped by training on Wednesday to wish the team well before they flew to Townsville for Friday's clash with the Cowboys.
Reports have indicated that Graham could miss a month or more but Hannay didn't put a definitive timeline on his recovery.
Cowboys v Sharks - Round 15
"We will take every precaution and he'll see the specialist that he needs to see, he'll have the test done that he needs to have done before we look at when he can get back into training and physical activity," Hannay said.
"The really good news is there are no symptoms ongoing there for him at the moment, but that won't change our mindset around making sure we take our time.
"This first week will be about him resting and spending a bit of time away from the facility. But he's such a leader and he's so influential with this group that I've really encouraged him when the time's right to just come back and be around the group.
Trekking to a cure: New initiative boosts Beanie Round
"He is a leader of this group, whether he's on the field or not, and I know having him around is almost a little bit of a safety blanket for a lot of the players. He speaks so well to them and they react to what he says.
"My approach with Wade is just from the footy side and the input he can continue to have even though he's not training and playing."
Graham's absence is an undoubted blow, but Cronulla are high on confidence after climbing to the brink of the top eight on the back of three consecutive victories.
It's the first winning streak of Hannay's 18-game interim coaching career – he took the wheel at North Queensland last season – but he deflected praise to his squad.
"I stick to my guns, I back my philosophies and my approach to how I coach. It is reassuring and good to see that we're starting to get some reward for effort," he said.
"The players have been a dream to coach, they really have. They've bought in even through that difficult period. They never questioned anything.
Old mates act: Hughes' Wolfpack hunting for a cure
"I think for them it's also important for their confidence in us as a staff that they're seeing some results as well now for what we're trying to get them to do.
"What we're doing doesn't surprise me. I know externally, I said week after week when we weren't winning that the players' mindset and approach and professionalism had never wavered and that was going to hold us in good stead.
"And it's no coincidence as well that we've got our best team on the park probably for the first time all year."
Hannay's efforts look set to be rewarded with a contract to remain in the Sutherland Shire next year as an assistant to rookie head coach Craig Fitzgibbon.
Johnson steps up and wins it
"I want to stay, the club want to keep me. What I know, generally, is when two parties want the same thing it generally works out," he said.
"Probably the reason it hasn't been finalised sooner is I've just been head down, bum up with coaching and making sure we continue the momentum we build.
"I haven't really spared too much of a thought for my own personal situation. I just want to continue to drive the standards here and what we're doing. At the right time that will all get sorted out."