Brisbane back-rower Matt Gillett admits he'll be more cautious in the future as he eyes a return from a fractured neck in time for a possible Origin cameo.
The no-nonsense Queensland and Australian representative sent a scare through the competition when it was discovered he had carried the injury through four NRL fixtures.
What Gillett thought was simply soreness will keep him out of the game for up to 12 weeks, with a further scan in one month set to reveal how well the fractures have healed.
Gillett nominated any one of Felise Kaufusi, Gavin Cooper, Josh Papalii and Coen Hess as capable of filling the void on the Maroons' right edge this year.
But the tough customer has been doing everything but contact work at the Broncos' Red Hill training base and holds hope of a return before Sydney's Origin II on June 24.
"But I need to wait until I get that scan and we'll know," he said.
"If I get the OK it might only be a week or two until I'm confident to take the field again."
Reduced to the unusual role of spectator, the Bribie Island junior has been spending his new found free time at the beach with his family and says he is emotionally settled after the initial shock that came with news of his injury.
While he says playing through niggles will continue to be part of life as an NRL player, Gillett admitted his scare would be a lesson to him and his teammates.
"There was pain there, but I thought it wasn't too much of an issue," he said.
"We always play through injuries - we don't want to let teammates down and that's what it comes down to - but those areas (head and neck) I'm sure they'll take more caution with them now."
Australian Associated Press