West Coast have confirmed All-Australian forward Mark LeCras will not return from his knee reconstruction this season.
LeCras was expected to miss the entire campaign when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in an innocuous training drill in February, but his quicker-than-expected recovery raised the prospect of a return for the finals.
Coach John Worsfold had previously stated a 2012 comeback was a possibility, yet highly unlikely, and he confirmed on Wednesday a final decision was reached last week not to risk it.
The 25-year-old is the second of the Eagles' top three leading goalkickers from last year to be officially ruled out for the rest of the season, with Mark Nicoski (hamstring) also unavailable.
Worsfold said the risk of the two-time leading goalkicker and 2010 All-Australian reinjuring himself was too high to bring him back, even though he has had no issues with an extensive running program.
"He's just got such a bright career ahead of him. It's not worth it," he said.
"The odds are he would do further damage and we would never see him back to being the great player we expect to see him back like next year.
"He said 'my knee feels really good', but he's also aware he would be playing at six months and he knows ... the recurrence rate of people coming back to full sport at that time."
Worsfold said LeCras would continue to build on his running program over the remainder of the season.
Confirmation the Eagles' 2010 Best and Fairest winner will not be back this year has heightened the importance of Josh Kennedy returning from ankle surgery in time for the finals and Worsfold said the key forward, who led the club with 59 goals last year, was still on track.
Kennedy is listed as five to six weeks away from being available but would likely need at least a fortnight in the WAFL, which would have him back for the first week of the finals at the earliest.
"I'm very confident he will (be back) if he has no setbacks and has a good run at it. He's already running really well," Worsfold said.
West Coast could find their short-term injury woes ease for Saturday's game at Adelaide, with Worsfold declaring he was 'reasonably confident' forwards Josh Hill (hamstring) and Ashton Hams (quad) would be available.
He said Jack Darling was also a strong chance despite injuring his hamstring in the 52-point loss to Sydney on Sunday, while Quinten Lynch will be back from suspension.
That defeat saw the Eagles drop out of the top four for the first time this season and they must beat the Crows to keep their hopes of earning the double chance on track.
But Worsfold played down the psychological importance of improving their 1-3 record against teams in the top six.
"I don't buy into that too much," he said.Meanwhile, Worsfold said veteran winger Andrew Embley (shoulder) should play his first WAFL game next week.