Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths is hoping scans this week clear Newcastle and NSW Pioneers representative Mitch Cullen of any major damage and the lock lines up against Coalfields rivals Cessnock at Kurri Sportsground on Saturday.
But the mentor is also preparing himself for the potential disappointment of losing one of his key players for a substantial length of time with a broken foot.
"We're not quite sure [of the damage] yet, we're hoping it's just deep bruising but it could be a broken foot," Griffith said.
"It would be devastating for us to lose him because we are already struggling a bit around the middle."
Cullen, who is also due to travel with the NSW Pioneers squad to Queensland later this month, sustained the injury in the opening five minutes of Kurri's 28-10 win over Lakes at home on Saturday but "played the rest of the game with constant treatment".
The Bulldogs are already down prop Jordan Mitchell, who picked up a hamstring injury in his first carry last start and looks set for a six-to-seven week stint on the sidelines.
"That's definitely a long-term one," Griffiths said.
Kurri playmaker Jade Porter (knee) resumed "full sprinting" at training on Tuesday but Griffiths doesn't expect the experienced campaign back until July 7.
Cessnock coach Todd Edwards rated both Harry O'Brien (shoulder) and Josh Charles (hand) a "50-50" chance of playing but Marvin Filipo (hamstring) has been ruled out.