Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has confirmed forward Eliesa Katoa is another three or four weeks away from returning after suffering a nasty eye injury, while star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has taken steps forward.

Katoa has been missing since he managed just ten minutes in a Round 15 clash against the Cronulla Sharks.

An eye injury which was worse than originally thought required surgery for the ex-New Zealand Warrior, with Katoa's movement currently limited.

Bellamy said the club wouldn't rush him back, and expected Katoa to be missing for another three or four weeks.

"Not quite sure," Bellamy admitted to the media after the Storm's captain's run ahead of Friday's game against the Panthers.

"The eye injury ended up being worse. He had an operation about 10 days or 2 weeks after the incident.

"It's going to be another three or four weeks at best. Not quite sure, but we obviously aren't going to take any chances with an injury like that.

"He isn't bed-ridden, but he isn't allowed to move too much either, so it was a pretty nasty injury at the end, but hopefully he will be back in about three weeks."

Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been used in the second-row in the absence of Katoa, and will start there again on Friday evening against the Penrith Panthers.

The Storm have a bye next weekend, before Katoa will miss at least the Round 20 clash against the Sydney Roosters. He is then a chance of playing against either the Newcastle Knights in Round 21 or the Parramatta Eels in Round 22.

Papenhuyzen, on the other hand, is still yet to play this year after suffering a shattering knee injury in August of last year.

As his recovery approaches 12 months, Bellamy said he had taken steps forward this year, even appearing to be something close to sprinting at one point during Thursday's captain's run.

"He hasn't long been out on the field training, so that [him running better] is a good sign. It's a plus," Bellamy said.

"How long it takes from here, I'm not quite sure, but the last few days it looks like he has gone forward a few steps and hopefully things might be a bit clearer, but also, we are a bit more optimistic about when he might be back."

Bellamy will have a selection headache when Papenhuyzen does return, with the fullback likely to play QLD Cup prior to lining up for the Storm, however, with the finals approaching and Nick Meaney doing a stellar job in the number one jersey, there is potentially a scenario where Papenhuyzen doesn't immediately come back into the first-grade set-up.