Wigan Warriors head coach Adrian Lam will continue to tread carefully with Bevan French but admits he could feature in Thursday’s trip to Leeds Rhinos.
The Aussie full-back began training with Lam’s squad last week for the first time since completing a quarantine period following his late arrival back in the UK.
French was granted an extended stay back in his homeland on compassionate grounds but is now edging closer to a first appearance of the season.
Lam, who revealed forward Liam Byrne has been charged with a Grade B crusher tackle following Friday’s Challenge Cup third-round win at York, said: “Bevan is a little bit better now than a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll give him the rest of this week to see if he’s good to play at Leeds.
“We’ll make that decision at the back end of the week but he’ll probably be part of the squad.
“He’s on that fringe area to be honest with you so we’re being precautionary with him.
“There are a lot of soft tissue injuries around the world of rugby league at the moment, not just in the NRL but also over here.
“We’ve got to make sure that Bevan is okay and that’s why we’ve got to give him as much time as possible.
“The boys are playing great in certain positions and Zak Hardaker has been outstanding at full-back.
“Team selection is a week-to-week proposition at the moment and we’re not looking too far ahead.
“We took the opportunity to rest Thomas Leuluai and Liam Farrell at York last weekend so as a coach I’ve got to do what’s best for the players.”
Zak Hardaker has deputised for French in the first three games of the season and shown signs of his best form.
Lam added: “Zak’s a strong personality and a great leader within our club.
“I know he loves playing full-back and that’s his favourite position but, whether he plays full-back, centre or wing, he’s a competitor.
“That’s why he’s a Wigan player and we love him the way he is.
“I think over the last three weeks, Zak has been consistent in every game and I’m proud of him for that.”
Wigan’s injuries are set to ease in the coming weeks with winger Dom Manfredi (thumb) and centre Oliver Gildart (groin) set to be available shortly, while Liam Marshall is also progressing well in his recovery from an ACL knee injury.
Lam added: “Dom Manfredi gets his hand out of the cast in two days’ time and the rest of his physical side is bang on because he’s still been able to run.
“Liam Marshall is still five or six weeks away and there are always hiccups with ACL injuries.
“There isn’t usually smooth runs with them, but he’s been going well, touch wood, and just has to keep working hard.
“He looks confident and the boys love him because he’s a funny guy around the place as well.”