ESSENDON spearhead Joe Daniher looks set to miss the rest of the home and away season as he continues to recover from osteitis pubis.
The 2017 All Australian has been sidelined since round seven, and is still yet to return to full training with his Bombers teammates.
However, he appears a slim chance to play in finals – which are six weeks away – should the Bombers' fairytale run continue, Essendon having won four of its past five games.
"Joe's taking it slow, but steady. We're not taking any shortcuts with his progressions," Bombers' physical performance manager Justin Crow told the club's website on Tuesday.
"I'd say that it would be unlikely, given the rate he's progressing at currently, that he'd return in the home and away season."
"But we'll just take it week by week and keep progressing him as he's able."
Despite playing three matches in 14 days between rounds 4-6, Daniher was put on ice the after the following match with concerns the club say re-emerged from pre-season.
The Bombers are hopeful Matt Dea and Kyle Langford will be cleared of concussion symptoms in order to face Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.
Dea was ruled out of last week's win over Sydney in the opening term after landing awkwardly from a marking contest.
Langford was taken to hospital for scans post-game, a result of a heavy hit from Sydney's Zak Jones in the dying stages, the Swan given a two-week ban by the Match Review Officer.
Youngster Mason Redman underwent knee surgery on Tuesday to repair his meniscus and miss the remainder of the season.