Despite what will be a near three-month extended layoff, Essendon coach John Worsfold has all but put a line through star forward Joe Daniher suiting up when football returns in Round 2.
The luckless Bombers spearhead has been plagued by groin injuries over the past two seasons, playing just 11 of a possible 45 games.
Daniher has not taken to the field in the past 12 months and requested a trade to Sydney at the end of 2019.
On Tuesday, Worsfold provided an update on Daniher, saying he was still "a fair way off" playing and has not yet returned to training.
"When I look at what Joe is doing at the moment, it is not enough to say he'll be ready for Round 2," Worsfold said.
"He's obviously a fair way off what we would say is the intensity to be ready to play, so we'll just keep progressing him up and that will take care of itself.
"The next step for him will be getting to the point where he can join in training with the group and then there's usually a couple of weeks required where he is in full training with the group before we would say someone's back ready to play."
Worsfold refused to answer whether Daniher would make an appearance at all for the Bombers in 2020.
"I can't answer that question," he said. "All I can say is that it is our aim [for Daniher to play in 2020], to help him get back ready to play.
"I don't think we have had any idea of how it would progress so this issue is different to pretty much any other issue that our medical staff have seen so they are treating it as a unique situation."