Quade Cooper has been cleared of a serious injury but remains in doubt of kicking off the Super Rugby season for Queensland against the Brumbies on Saturday night.
Cooper spent Friday night in hospital after suffering neck damage in a heavy tackle by bulky back-rower Lopeti Timani late in the Reds’ 18-13 trial loss to the Melbourne Rebels at Ballymore.
The Wallabies playmaker underwent X-rays which cleared him of any fracture while preliminary results from an MRI scan are also positive.
But Cooper is suffering from an uncomfortable and restrictive kink in the neck after his chin impacted heavily on his chest after Timani struck him from behind as he off-loaded.
“He’s stiff and he’s sore but he’s mobile and at home,” Reds coach Richard Graham told AAP. “We really have to see how the spasm settles down in the next 24-48 hours.
“But we’re confident he’ll be right to play.”
Cooper will need the movement in his neck to free up enough to train on Monday afternoon to ensure he’s a likely starter at Canberra Stadium.
Kiwi-born Mike Harris looms as his possible replacement as back-up No.10 Ben Lucas has missed Queensland’s two trial outings with an ankle injury.
The Reds also had flanker Ed Quirk (shoulder) and centre Anthony Fainga’a (facial cut) suffer injuries in the loss to the Rebels but Graham expects both to be fit.
The coach lamented a flatness in both attack and defence against a highly-committed Melbourne after his side jumped to an early 13-0 lead.
“It was disappointing for us to come out at our spiritual home and put that performance forward,” flanker Liam Gill said.
“We were a bit scrappy, and we have a few things to tighten up. Hopefully it will kick us up the bum and fire us up for next week.
“A couple of years ago we had that big loss to the Waratahs (30-6 in 2011) and we bounced back pretty well.”
Fullback Aidan Toua, a late inclusion on the bench after overcoming hamstring soreness, capped his strong case for the No.15 jersey with a brilliant second-half cameo after Lachie Turner failed to take his chance.