BRISBANE could be without All Australian defender Harris Andrews until the preliminary final, with his hamstring injury worse than first thought.
Andrews tore his left hamstring in the third quarter of Friday night's win over Collingwood, an injury the Lions initially hoped would cost him just two to three weeks.
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But Brisbane football manager David Noble told AFL.com.au scans came back much worse.
"It looks like it'll be around five or six weeks," Noble said.
"Our medicos do a really good job though – Cam Rayner came back earlier than we thought – so we'll back their judgement."
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Brisbane is currently in second place with three matches remaining and in prime position to lock in a top-four spot and a double chance come finals time.
If Andrews recovers in five weeks, he'll be available for semi-final weekend, and if it takes six weeks, the preliminary final – should Brisbane qualify.
The Lions' medical department have an excellent record, with Rayner initially expected to miss four weeks after tearing a hamstring against Richmond and returning in less than three.
Young defender Jack Payne, who played his one and only game against the Tigers in round 10, is the frontrunner to replace Andrews in remaining matches against Gold Coast, Sydney and Carlton.
"We don't rush them back," Noble said.
"When they come back they generally stay and play."