A SHATTERED Johnathan Thurston says there is no guarantee he will be fit for Origin II after ruling himself out of the series opener this Wednesday night.
Just 24 hours after outlining his desire to play Origin I, Thurston reluctantly pulled the pin after tests on Wednesday night and a fresh scan on Thursday morning confirmed his shoulder is not ready for the rigours of interstate battle.
The withdrawal of Thurston clears the path for Anthony Milford to make his Origin debut - ending a week of drama between Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and Queensland counterpart Kevin Walters over his selection.
Bennett vowed to seek answers from the Queensland hierarchy over Thurston's fitness, but Walters nipped the issue in the bud, scratching his champion playmaker six days out from Origin I.
But there could be more pain for the Maroons, with Thurston admitting he will take a cautious approach before declaring himself a certainty for Origin II on June 21.
Thurston hopes to be fit for the Cowboys' clash against Parramatta in Darwin on June 10, but is taking nothing for granted in his frustrating battle with a torn rotator cuff.
"I went for a scan this morning and that confirmed I won't be fit enough to play," he said.
"I did some testing yesterday and the results didn't come back the way that I wanted. I had a chat to the doc and physio last night and I didn't want to believe it.
"There's no surgery (needed) at this stage, hopefully it's only a couple more weeks (of recovery).
"Obviously I'm devastated. I love everything about the Origin campaign, the build up, the final training run, the buzz around the city, the town and wherever you are. It's devastating not to be a part of it when that two-minute bell goes.
"I was 100 per cent hopeful of playing. I am relieved that the doc has taken it out of my hands because I was keen on playing."
Asked if he would be fit for Origin II, Thurston said: "Fingers crossed. I'm hoping to be back for the Eels game, but like I said yesterday, if it's not right then I won't be putting myself or the team at risk."
Thurston backed Broncos sensation Milford to shine in his Origin debut alongside Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk.
"I congratulated him first," he said. "He just needs to worry about getting his preparation right and the best thing about this team is you only have to worry about yourself. Prepare the best you can and do the job for the team. We're not asking him to go over and beyond _ just do your job and no doubt he will do that.
"He is a super talent and I love watching him play.
"Milf can get that clarity now and start preparing.
"He has some old heads that will help him in the team and the best thing about playing in this team is you only have to worry about your backyard and not let your teammates down."
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