North Queensland captain Michael Morgan has been ruled out of Sunday's derby with Gold Coast due to shoulder soreness.
Morgan experienced pain after his side's round-two loss to St George Illawarra and his condition has not improved enough for him to be passed fit.
The club will continue to monitor Morgan, who is expected to be fit for the Cowboys' next outing against Cronulla.
Morgan was plagued by injuries in season 2020 with a shoulder infection and a right calf tear that saw him appear in only six games for the club.
Morgan's loss is compounded by fellow captain Jason Taumalolo expected to be on the sidelines for a month after fracturing his hand last week in training.
Cowboys coach Todd Payten is expected to name changes to this weekend's side following the completion of training on Thursday.