Queensland are set to keep skipper James Hopes in cotton wool until the Big Bash League after taking a cautious approach to his latest knee injury.
The former Australian one-day allrounder has again been left out of the Bulls line-up for Wednesday's crucial day-night clash with NSW at the Gabba.
Hopes injured himself a month ago against South Australia and had been tipped to return against the Blues but Queensland don't want a repeat of last season's dramas after he rushed back from a knee problem.
While his current injury is to the other knee, the 34-year-old has agreed to a gradual return and will likely make his comeback in club cricket before the Brisbane Heat's BBL opener on December 9.
Both the Bulls and NSW have made one just change to their line-ups for Wednesday's clash.
Queensland have dropped left-arm paceman Scott Walter, replacing him with Matthew Gale, while the Blues have promoted young quick Josh Lalor at the expense of leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
NSW are coming off a stunning home loss to Victoria on Sunday when the Bushrangers produced an Australian record run-chase to pass the Blues' total of 350 with 20 balls to spare.
Queensland believe they've turned the corner after breaking a six-match one-day losing streak with last week's tense final-over win against Tasmania in Hobart.
With Victoria (19) and South Australia (14) clearing out from the rest of the field, a loss would almost certainly end the Bulls (4) title hopes.
NSW also sit on four points but have only played two games - one less than Queensland.
Queensland: Chris Hartley (capt), Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Peter Forrest, Jason Floros, Matthew Gale, Cameron Gannon, Nathan Hauritz, Usman Khawaja, Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Nathan Reardon (12th man to be named).
NSW: Stephen O'Keefe (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Scott Henry, Josh Lalor, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Ben Rohrer, Steve Smith (12th man to be named).