South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis will have to visit his surgeon again next week before he is cleared to make his return from a broken thumb just two rounds out from the NRL finals.
Inglis was not named to take on Brisbane on Thursday night and most believed the second-placed Rabbitohs were taking a cautious approach with their captain.
But Souths coach Anthony Seibold revealed on Wednesday that Inglis was yet to be cleared to play after breaking his thumb six-and-a-half weeks ago.
"It's a tricky one because the surgeon said he couldn't play, so the decision was taken out of my hands," Seibold said.
"I think from my understanding there has been a bit of speculation on why we aren't playing Greg.
"But the reality is he had his scan last Friday and the surgeon said he's not clear to play.
"He goes back and has another scan on Monday and fingers crossed there is some improvement there. I'm sure there will be."
The Rabbitohs are confident he will be fit to return after the team's nine-day turnaround into Canberra in the penultimate round of the regular season.
"He went [to the surgeon] last Friday so it's effectively 15 days from the last appointment," Seibold said.
Inglis' fitness has taken on even more importance with regular fullback Alex Johnston out for the final rounds with a hamstring injury.
Dane Gagai will play in the No.1 jersey for the first time since arriving from Newcastle, while Hymel Hunt, Braidon Burns, Tyrell Fuimaono and Richie Kennar round out a relatively inexperienced backline.
"We trust Gags, he's played a fair bit of it at Newcastle over a period of time," Seibold said.
"He hasn't done any reps with us other than this week so we'll see how he goes.
"[The others] don't have to be Greg Inglis or Dane Gagai. They've just got to do their jobs. If the individuals do their job then collectively we'll get a performance we're proud of."
Thursday's clash is particularly interesting given rumours continue to link Seibold to the Broncos next year as Wayne Bennett's replacement.
Seibold again insisted he had not received any offer and was in the dark over what was transpiring in Brisbane, but admitted he expected a galvanised Broncos side considering the dramas and two straight losses.