South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds will be working closely with the Rabbitohs medical staff to try to manage his lower back pain, courtesy of a small fracture to a vertebrae he suffered in June.
The talented No.7 pulled up sore after turning to sprint in the final minutes of the Rabbitohs' 26-16 loss to Storm in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.
It looked like he had hurt his hamstring or knee the way he hobbled. But coach Wayne Bennett said Reynolds's back was becoming an ongoing issue for him.
"He's got a lower back problem since he had the fracture. It can seize up on him. He couldn’t train Saturday because it got sore through the week," Bennett said.
"Everyone seems to think it would be gone by now but it hasn't, so obviously we've got to manage it now.
"It was pain that got him this afternoon. I don’t think he's done any more damage to it."
The injury came in the loss to the Eels in round 12 via an accidental knee. It fractured the transverse process – or small wing-like bone - on his L3 vertebra.
Reynolds has one of the best kicking games in the NRL and is also South Sydney's first-choice goalkicker. As Souths head into the final month of the club competition, the Redfern junior is a vital part of the Rabbitohs' plan to stay in the top four.
He has struck a solid partnership with five-eighth Cody Walker, who also earned praise from Bennett in the aftermath of Sunday's game.
"He was certainly on tonight," Bennett said, "He threw some beautiful passes and made some great runs himself."
In addition to Reynolds not being able to do the captain's run, Sam Burgess (quad) pulled up sore on the eve of the match and centre Braidon Burns (hamstring) had to withdraw.
"We didn't know until yesterday morning that Sam was out but I've got to say none of them blinked," Bennett said.
"They said 'OK, coach let's get on with it'. They had the confidence that although they were up for a tough game they could do it without him.
"It was great performance by them to do that because Sam is such an instrumental player in the team. His leadership is second to none."
South Sydney made it a trifle difficult for themselves allowing the Storm to race to a 12-0 lead. But they clawed their way back and got to within four points (20-16) with enough time on the clock before Cameron Munster weaved some magic.
But the fight they showed proved to Bennett his team is ready for the finals.
"I feel like that. If we’d played again like we did against Cronulla I would have said we might as well not turn up in September.
"But we've shown some real quality there tonight – not perfect – but most of the things we need to do better we can fix up.
"One of the most pleasing parts of our performance tonight was the way we stayed at it and got back into it.
"I thought we matched it with them for most of the game, after that first period.
"Storm are still a quality football team. They've been the most consistent in the last decade in the competition – you know what they bring and they brought it again today.
"We manage to stay with them for long periods of time. There have been other teams I've coached and we haven’t done that."