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Issac Luke is confident he does not require surgery on his injured left shoulder but South Sydney officials are resigned to being without their inspirational hooker for up to 10 matches.
And in another potential blow to the Rabbitohs, at least five Souths players - including Sam, George and Luke Burgess - will come under scrutiny from the NRL match review committee over a variety of incidents from last Friday night's spiteful clash with Wests Tigers, in which three of their opponents were also placed on report and one member of each team sin-binned.
Souths doctor Andrew McDonald will consult a shoulder specialist on Monday about the results of scans taken on the weekend to determine if Luke needs an operation after he was assisted from the field in the dying minutes of the 25-16 loss to the Tigers at ANZ Stadium.
However, Luke has told others in the Rabbitohs camp that he has reasonable movement and is in no pain so believes he does not require surgery. The Kiwis star even predicted he could play in next Sunday's match against Canberra, although Souths coach Michael Maguire has ruled that out.
"This is one we really have to talk to surgeons about," Maguire told Triple M on Sunday. "It could be a four-weeker, it could be a 10-weeker. We just really have to wait and see on Monday."
NSW Cup hooker Apisai Koroisau, who represented Fiji at last year's World Cup but is yet to play NRL, is a possible replacement for Luke, and Maguire told reporters after Friday night's match that he expected five-eighth Dylan Walker and second-rower Chris McQueen to return after missing the clash with Wests due to ankle injuries.
Maguire also said on Sunday that superstar fullback Greg Inglis would be fit to play after being forced from the field in just the fifth minute due to concussion.
However, there is uncertainty over the availability of other Souths players, with George Burgess and Bryson Goodwin placed on report for high tackles.
Among other incidents are Sam Burgess' role in sparking a brawl after taking exception to a tackle on brother George by Aaron Woods and Adam Blair, the England forward's kicking of Tim Simona that resulted in the Wests centre exiting the match due to concussion and a high shot that landed Luke Burgess in the sinbin.
George Burgess is also likely to come under scrutiny after being penalised for a late tackle on Tigers halfback Luke Brooks as the match review committee last week charged Manly second-rower Anthony Watmough and Wests forward Sauaso Sue with dangerous contact. A grade one charge carries a penalty of 100 demerit points.
Maguire said he was unhappy with the discipline of his players in successive losses to Manly and the Tigers but rejected suggestions that other teams now believed they could put Sam Burgess off his game by targeting one of his brothers.
"What we are facing at the moment is teams coming at us very aggressively with different motivations but internally we are all here for the same cause, we have just got to meet these challenges as they come," Maguire said.
"As much as they are taking on the Burgesses, they are taking on our whole forward pack. We are not the first forward pack to face a few challenges."
Simona, Woods and Tigers interchange forward James Gavet were also placed on report in the match.