Manly officials are hopeful Test back-rower Glenn Stewart will miss just the opening six rounds of the NRL season due to ongoing concerns with his left knee.
Stewart underwent off-season surgery to clean up some cartilage in the troublesome joint, having undergone similar surgery last off-season.
Despite some reports that he could be out for at least three months, Sea Eagles medical staff believe the playmaking lock could return for the round seven clash against South Sydney on April 26.
Stewart endured an injury-disrupted 2012 campaign, after breaking a bone in his hand in the opening round of the season.
His unavailability for the opening six rounds of the season is set to test Manly's forward depth with coach Geoff Toovey already needing to find a replacement for departed back-rower Tony Williams.