Cowboys in the dark over Tamou, Morgan

NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green admits he has no idea if either of his injured stars, James Tamou and

Michael Morgan, will play any part in the club's push for its first premiership later this year.

While the results of their respective scans were encouraging, Green was unable to say when either would be back on the field, which must be a concern, given the finals are just three weeks away.

Former representative prop Ben Hannant has been promoted to fill Tamou's front-row spot against Melbourne this weekend, while Ray Thompson will join Johnathan Thurston in the halves.

Melbourne copped a decent pasting from furious coach Craig Bellamy after their costly loss to last-placed Newcastle on Monday night and the Cowboys will need to fix their slow starts to win away from home.

"Jimmy's scans have come back clear, but he has to have some more scans today although there doesn't appear to be any change to what's happened there (his neck)," Green said.

"He has recovered quite well so, like last year, it's a matter of waiting until all the symptoms are gone and he gets full strength back in both his arms and everything is back to normal."

CLOUDS: The is no date for the return of Cowboys James Tamou (left) and Michael Morgan.
CLOUDS: The is no date for the return of Cowboys James Tamou (left) and Michael Morgan. Aap

Green said Tamou was "pretty upbeat" but at this stage he would be monitored before any decision was made on when he would play.

"Once he is fully functional and he has his strength back, he'll be right to play," he said.

"How long that will take, we don't really know because it is nerve damage and they get better when they get better. You can't put a time line on it."

While Morgan's scans alleviated fears of an ankle fracture which would have ruled him of the finals, he does have a bad high-ankle sprain which could take weeks to heal.

"He doesn't require surgery - which is wonderful news I suppose - but they can take quite a while and he will also be monitored during his recovery process and see how he goes," Green said.

"He's a key player in our team and we want him back, but when that is, we're not sure.

"We've named Ray there this week and kept Rory Kostjasyn on the bench because he can do a job in so many positions for us.

"Ray has a nice kicking game and because he knows our game, he is probably a better option for us."

Green didn't have a problem with people saying the Cowboys couldn't win the premiership without Morgan.

"I can understand why they are saying it, he is a great player, but I don't agree with it," he said.

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