LUCKLESS St Kilda forward Paddy McCartin is still experiencing concussion symptoms three weeks after his most recent head knock, with the club conceding he won't be back for some time.
McCartin suffered his eighth concussion since 2014 in the Saints' second pre-season game against the Western Bulldogs, after copping a hip from teammate Ben Long.
The 22-year-old was forced to don a helmet by coach Alan Richardson, and has admitted considering retirement after a previous scare.
Richardson told reporters the former No.1 draftee was some way off returning.
"It's been three weeks now since the incident and Paddy still has some symptoms. That's going to take a while," Richardson said at RSEA Park on Friday.
"We can't really put a timeframe on when it is that he'll be back training flat-out or playing."
Another player struggling with injury at Moorabbin is recruit Dan Hannebery, whose hamstrings and calves have struggled to cope when running at top speed.
The triple All Australian hopes to be back in four to six weeks if his recovery is flawless, and was recently replaced in the leadership group by key defender Nathan Brown.
"That was a decision that we made in consultation with Dan, that was best for Dan," Richardson said.
"We just think Dan's got to that stage where he just needs to focus on Dan and get himself right.
"There's a lot in leadership and we wanted to take some of that away from him, just to make sure that he can get himself right."
The No.7 and 8 selections from the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield, have been left out for the second straight week.
Coffield hasn't been listed as an emergency for either game.
"They're going to be really good players for us. They've got a couple of things they need to work on. There's some blokes that play in similar positions that are in better form," Richardson said.
St Kilda was originally scheduled to have its training session at Marvel Stadium, ahead of playing there against Essendon on Saturday, but that was moved because of concerns surrounding the ground's surface.
"It was a bit shifty and it wasn't ideal, but what is pleasing is that they're going to do a lot of work on the ground to get it right," Richardson said.
Four-time best and fairest Jack Steven will spend plenty of time up forward as he increases his fitness after an interrupted preparation, with the six-day break since the win over Gold Coast another reason his midfield minutes will be limited.
Prized draftee Max King joined in for a couple of non-contact drills with the main group this week in his comeback from a right knee reconstruction.
His teammates celebrated the occasion, which amused the coach.
A special moment as Max King joins the main training group for the first time pic.twitter.com/ElSP6Z1jsN— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) March 27, 2019
"I didn't know what the roar was for at training. They made a banner," Richardson said.
"It wasn't the most impressive-looking banner. It had been put on a couple of A4 (pieces of paper) stuck together with a biro, but it said 'Welcome back Max', to a training session. Not a game."
King is on track to play in six to eight weeks.