The Indigenous All Stars camp is hopeful Greg Bird will not become the latest big-name withdrawal after NRL enforcer Paul Gallen's scratching from Saturday night's season-opening extravaganza.
Bird is battling back-spasms ahead of the Suncorp Stadium All Stars clash, the Gold Coast back-rower consigned to the massage table yesterday.
Cronulla ironman Gallen, who was recovering from a staph infection in his elbow when he entered the NRL All Stars camp, was replaced by his new Sharks teammate Chris Heighington after being unable to shrug off a niggling quad injury and failing to get through training yesterday morning.
The exhibition match has already lost a swag of big names to injury, with Gallen, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Anthony Watmough, Dave Taylor and Sam Thaiday all high-profile withdrawals.
The Indigenous camp wasn't giving too much away about Bird's condition, but it is believed his stint on the massage table was precautionary and he would be right to dish out his pain on Saturday night.
Heighington is the eighth debutant in Wayne Bennett's revised All Stars squad.
But the former Wests Tigers back-rower and English international has the advantage of playing most of his 200 NRL games with captain Benji Marshall and hooker Robbie Farah.
"Gal was disappointed," said NRL All Stars assistant coach Brad Fittler.
"He came into camp with a quad injury thinking if he gave it a few days' rest and then trained [it would be fine], but it hasn't come good.
"He's also had a recent elbow operation and got an infection and had a recent [charity] fight in New Zealand so, all and all, I think it's a wise decision not to play this weekend.
"Chris is a good player and good fella - he'll fit in quickly."
Heighington said while it was an unfortunate way to get a start, he was excited about his call up.
"All Stars is a great event and I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in the game," he said.