Penrith veteran prop Brent Kite is set to make a shock return from a biceps injury in a bid to help the Panthers secure a top four spot.
Kite hasn't played since round 21, with initial fears his season could have ended with a ruptured bicep.
But the 33-year-old put off surgery in a bid to play again this year.
It is understood Kite will train with the Panthers squad this week. Provided he comes through unscathed, he will rejoin his teammates on the field when Penrith host the Warriors in the final regular season game of the year on Sunday night.
Should Kite pull up lame, he is almost certain to return in time for the Panthers' first finals clash.
His inclusion will be a timely boost to a depleted Panthers side, who are without Kevin Kingston (knee), Elijah Taylor (knee), Bryce Cartwright (fibula), Peter Wallace (knee) and Tyrone Peachey (pectoral) for the rest of the season.
The former Test prop registered his 300th NRL game earlier this year season. He achieved the rare feat of playing more than 20 games a season since debuting for St George Illawarra in 2002.
Kite, who won the Clive Churchill Medal for Manly in 2008, has played in four grand finals.
The Panthers will also welcome back hooker James Segeyaro, who has returned from PNG following the death of his father.
By the time the Panthers and the Warriors play, both sides will know where a victory will leave them in the top eight jigsaw. The Panthers can finish as high as fourth and receive two finals chances, while a loss could see them finish as low as seventh depending on other results.
The Warriors will almost certainly need a win to push for a top eight spot. A heavy loss by the Broncos against Melbourne, and if Parramatta lose to Canberra, could still see the Warriors progress even if they lose to the Panthers.
The Warriors can finish as high as sixth with a win.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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