When the eight-time Grand Prix winner was first injured, there had been talk around the paddock that he may be available as early as Singapore or Japan to make a return.
Both of those races have come and gone, and Lawson has once again shown himself to be a capable replacement in the car.
In that sense, there is no need to rush Ricciardo back, and Horner believes it is better to take their time with him.
"I would say probably less likely than likely at the moment," he told Sky Sports when asked whether Ricciardo would be ready for Qatar.
"His recuperation is going well but he's fixed in the seat for next year, does he need to rush a hasty return for Qatar where maybe another couple of weeks for Austin, which is a hell of a bumpy circuit anyway, it might be better to use that time in preparation for Austin.
"I know he's got his sights fixed on Qatar, he'll drive the simulator next week and then we'll make some decisions based on that."
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