Scott racing clock to play alongside JT
THE Cowboys insist co-captain Matt Scott will return to the field this season and his career is not under threat from a nagging neck injury.
Scott has missed North Queensland's past four matches with a neck injury related to a problem he has carried for the past few years of his 15-season career.
The 32-year-old prop underwent surgery on his neck after North Queensland's historic maiden NRL premiership in 2015.
The 246-game veteran has had minor scares with his neck since, but his latest setback has seen Cowboys medical staff unable to put a date on his return.
With only six games left in the season, Scott is racing the clock to return in 2018.
But the Cowboys believe he will play alongside retiring co-captain Johnathan Thurston at some stage despite North Queensland being unable to make the finals.
"It's a bit of a work in progress," Cowboys football boss Peter Parr said.
"He has had a similar injury before. Unfortunately there is no timeline on it so we'll have to wait and see.
"It's nothing different to what he's carried most of his career. He will continue to do everything he can to get back.
"I'm expecting him to play at some stage. It's not the first time he's missed some football with this sort of injury.
"It's taken a little bit longer than usual but we expect that he will be available for selection at some stage before the end of the season."
Scott, 33 next month, has had a tough season in his return from a knee reconstruction after playing only two games last year.
He was overlooked for selection in the Queensland Origin side for Game One and has only played one match since.
Scott is contracted to the Cowboys until the end of the 2019 season when it is likely he will retire.
The Cowboys have missed Scott's on-field presence, especially with star recruit Jordan McLean sidelined for most of the season with a foot injury.
Thurston said he hoped Scott could get back on the park and wasn't forced into an early retirement.
"I hope so," he said.
"He's been the number one prop in the game for a number of years. There's no doubt we've missed his leadership on the paddock.
"Hopefully he can get it right and get back out there as soon as possible.
"He's been a massive part of our club and one of our captains.
"He is still voicing his concerns at meetings and is a leader of the club even though he's not there on the weekend.
"He is still doing everything required of him during the week. Hopefully he can get back out there."
Cowboys coach Paul Green is expected to stick with Scott Bolton and John Asiata in his starting front row for Friday's clash with Newcastle at 1300SMILES Stadium.