Despite failing to provide a return to work date for his veteran five-eighth Luke Keary, Sydney steward Trent Robinson has stressed he isn't losing sleep over the prospect of the 30-year-old being forced from the game with concussive issues.
After colliding with the knee of teammate Joey Manu during the Chook's Round 14 loss to Melbourne at the SCG, Keary has failed to reappear for the Tri Colours, instead opting to rehabilitate cautiously on the sidelines.
According to reports from News Corp, the former Bunny has been hampered with delayed concussive symptoms, including headaches, with the Moore Park side taking a 'softly, softly approach to his return to work given his previous history with head knocks.
Since joining the Roosters ahead of the 2017 NRL season, the Ipswich-born playmaker has sustained at least 5 known blows to the head, with all having been recorded between January 2018 and May 2019.
Having pulled on the boots for 171 first-grade games since debuting in 2013, as well as claiming a trifecta of premierships and the 2018 Clive Churchill Medal, some may wonder what it is that Keary believes he still has to achieve inside the touchline.
Yet, with the potential to earn $1.7 million before the end of his current contract at the cessation of the 2024 season, at a bare minimum, the money is right.
And with all signs pointing towards a medically cleared return in the future, Robinson was happy to stress that he backed his star six.
“No, I am not concerned about his long-term playing future,” Robinson said publically ahead of the Chooks' crucial clash against the Panthers on Friday night.
“I’m confident from my discussions with Luke and the types of symptoms — I’ve obviously seen some different ones — I’m not as concerned about Luke.”
Still, when pressed for when Roosters fans could expect Keary back in the middle of the park, Robinson could not provide a conclusive conclusion to the Queenslander's absence.
“I don’t think it’s hard (to put a return date), he will be back soon,” Robinson added.
“Then symptoms persisted and that gets pushed back.
“What you want to see is an improvement in that, and that has happened so that is really positive. There are always steps towards returning, you just have to keep going through the dates."
The 45-year-old also went on to stress that the altered timeline was outside of his control, with he, Keary and the club content to allow medical professionals to call the shots amongst the ambiguity.
“This isn’t his choice, this is the medical choice with Luke around where his symptoms have been at and his progressions at training. Is he going to be able to get out like he has been at training and doing some exercise and then increasing (the load)," Robinson said in finality.
Fresh off the back of his Pacific Test outing for the Kiwis, Manu has been selected to partner the precocious Sam Walker in the halves for their fixture at the feet of the Blue Mountains.
Kick-off in the old-fashioned '4-pointer' is scheduled for 7:55pm (AEST) on Friday at BlueBet Stadium.