Nathan Brown has played down talk of Kalyn Ponga making an early return from injury.
The nib Newcastle Knights fullback sat out Queensland's game three State of Origin win over New South Wales and Friday's win over the Parramatta due to a hamstring injury.
Ponga picked up the complaint a fortnight ago against the Canterbury-Bankstown.
Deemed a 3-4-week injury, Ponga is a slight chance to suit-up in next Saturday's clash against the Gold Coast Titans.
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When quizzed on Ponga's likelihood of taking the field, Brown admitted he is reluctant to risk the 20-year-old.
"If it was a grand final, you'd probably say yes," Brown said of Ponga returning.
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"But he's too important for the club's long-term future to be risking him with a hamstring at this stage.
"I'd be surprised if he made next week. He'll be touch and go. But I'd be surprised, we're not going to push him at this stage."
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