RODNEY Eade says Gold Coast has done everything possible to manage Gary Ablett's injured left shoulder, but it will never return to 100 per cent.
Ablett had the shoulder reconstructed last August, but after just two games on the comeback trail, further damage means he is now sidelined indefinitely.
Eade said it was impossible to replicate AFL intensity at training, but both the club's medical staff and Ablett were satisfied his shoulder was fine heading into round one against Melbourne.
Eade was unsure how long the Suns skipper would be out, but conceded the shoulder would never be perfect again.
"It's never going to be 100 per cent, because he had an operation," Eade said.
"Guys who have had ACLs are never going to have 100 per cent knees again because once you've had an invasive procedure, there's some limitation within the joint.
"He's never going to be 100 per cent. But I think the medical people and players who have had it before said if they're over 90 per cent, it should be OK."
Eade said Ablett completed tackling and contested work to prove his fitness before the season opener against the Demons.
Melbourne's Jack Viney was particularly severe on Ablett, driving the dual Brownlow medallist into the MCG turf on a number of occasions.
Eade said no amount of training could have truly prepared Ablett for that.
"You can do those tackles on anyone and throw them to the ground, but then do they do an AC joint?
"There's nothing like match practice, playing the game.
"Being driven into the ground, it happened twice against Melbourne and once or twice against St Kilda, you're probably not going to practise that with any player."
Eade said there was no time frame on Ablett's absence, suggesting it could be anywhere from two to five weeks.
Gold Coast plays Geelong on Sunday, and at this stage it appears unlikely Ablett will make the trip south to watch.
"Talking to the doc, I asked about Gary coming down, it'd be great to have the captain there," Eade said.
"He said with the inflammation maybe with flying, it might be best for his preparation and rehab not to do that with the air pressure.
"On the surface, probably best not to, but we'll have that discussion."