The Dolphins are sweating on the return of key prop Thomas Flegler, sidelined with a severe shoulder injury.

Flegler's absense also has implications on Queensland Maroons squad ahead of the State of Origin series.

Initially described as a "bad burner" by Dolphins performance chief Jeremy Hickmans, the nature of the issue involves nerve damage that makes his return to NRL action uncertain.

Coach Wayne Bennett provided an update on Flegler's condition and described the complexity of the recovery process.

"The time frame is when Tom can feel his shoulder again and the nerves are operating properly," Bennett explained.

"It is nerve damage and it has got to be repaired."

This injury adds to the woes of Queensland coach Billy Slater, who is already dealing with the absence of key forwards Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Thomas Gilbert, both out with season-ending knee injuries. Flegler's uncertain recovery timeline is particularly troubling as the State of Origin opener approaches on June 5 in Sydney.

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The Dolphins' injury list doesn't end with Flegler. Fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, another key Maroon, is recovering from a grade-two hamstring strain suffered in round six against the Broncos, although the news is not so dire.

"Hammer is probably three weeks away and maybe two," Bennett continued.

The Dolphins are also monitoring the progress of second-rower Felise Kaufusi, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. Despite not having played for the Maroons since 2022 and being suspended during last year's series, Kaufusi's excellent form prior to his injury positions him as a contender for a return to the Origin squad.

"Kaufusi ran strongly on Saturday at training and was hitting high speeds," reported Hickmans, suggesting that a return sometime between rounds 9 to 11 seems most likely.

England international Herbie Farnworth is also in rehab for an AC joint injury. Bennett indicated optimism about Farnworth's return, noting, "Herbie could be back in the next couple of weeks ... but Tom is the furthest away."

Despite the injury setbacks, The Dolphins have taken advantage of a somewhat softer draw to start the year and have been in scintillating form, sitting in the top four.