Down captain Ambrose Rogers is unlikely to participate in Sunday week's All-Ireland SFC final against Cork, unless his cruciate knee ligament injury improves significantly in the coming days.
The injury forced Rogers to miss Down's semi-final victory over Kildare, and team manager James McCartan is admittedly 'planning without' the Longstone clubman.
"Things wouldn't have changed a huge amount in that we're preparing without him, and then just hope against hope," said the Down boss.
"But certainly Ambrose is a lot further down the road in his rehabilitation.
"We will continue to monitor things. Obviously every manager likes to be able to deal from a full hand if possible, particularly when it comes to an All-Ireland final."
Rogers' father, Ambrose senior, was a team-mate of McCartan's when Down lifted the Sam Maguire Cup back in 1991.
If the Down skipper does not recover in time, Peter Fitzpatrick is set to be retained in midfield alongside Kalum King.
Commenting on other counties' recent battles with cruciate injuries, McCartan added: "We saw the situation with Kilkenny where Henry Shefflin's knee didn't hold up last Sunday and John Tennyson's did, so we just don't know.
"Also, the situation with Dermot Earley, who had a similar injury and didn't play against us in the semi-final, shows there are no guarantees."