Benny Coulter will miss Down's Ulster SFC opener against Fermanagh on June 3 after sustaining a broken ankle on Monday night.
The 2010 All-Star picked up the injury while in action for his club Mayobridge in their Down Division 1 league match against Bryansford.
At last night's Ulster SFC launch at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Down manager James McCartan confirmed the news regarding Coulter. But he is also fearful than Dan Gordon will be absent for the Brewster Park encounter.
"If there were two men you wouldn't want to be without, it's those two," admitted McCartan.
Gordon injured his ankle during Down's Allianz League win over Laois in Portlaoise last month.
The extent of the damage to Coulter is not yet fully known. The experienced forward is due to undergo further tests this week.
Meanwhile, there is some good news for Down as Danny Hughes is on course to be fit for selection for the start of the Mourne men's 2012 Championship campaign.
Speaking last night, Hughes said: "We have a couple of injury concerns still being cleared and you never know what comes ahead over the next couple of weeks. Obviously it's going to be very, very tough.
"I tore a hamstring a number of weeks ago - about three or four weeks ago now. It will probably be another three weeks I'd say (before it is healed), so I will be there or thereabouts for Fermanagh."