An emotional Taylor Adams has admitted to coach Craig McRae he might not be able to watch Collingwood's do-or-die semi-final against Fremantle.
The tough midfielder - out for the rest of the season with a torn adductor - will find it tough to sit still at the MCG on Saturday night as he laments being unable to have a say in the Magpies' fortunes on the field.
Yet he remains an important part of McRae's premiership plan behind the scenes.
"He's brilliant at helping us be better (but) he'll struggle on match day," McRae said.
"He's already texted me saying, 'I don't know if I'll be able to watch'.
"But we're using his wisdom, experience, leadership and knowledge to make us better day to day."
Adams missed three home-and-away matches because of an initial adductor injury last month and returned for the qualifying final against Geelong, only to be struck down early in the fourth quarter.
He slipped while kicking and ruptured the muscle before being helped off the ground in tears, clearly aware at the time his season was almost certainly over.
Now the Magpies must find a way to replace one of their most important grunt players around the ball, with inexperienced forward-wingman Trent Bianco named as Adams' replacement in the team.
Electric small forward Jamie Elliott and rugged defender Brayden Maynard are both likely to be called upon to play some more midfield minutes.
"We just saw in three quarters of a game (against Geelong) how important Tay is for our clearances," McRae said.
"We broke even against a really good clearance team and our pressure was really high, and he drove a lot of that.
"We don't have a ready-made replacement so we're going to have to be creative."
Adams is facing about a three-month recovery period, putting him on track to join 2023 pre-season training in January.
It will mark the start of the 28-year-old's 12th AFL campaign - his 10th with the Magpies after crossing from GWS.
"He's going to need every bit of the off-season to get himself right," McRae said.
"I think the full tear is a positive, funnily enough. He might have had to have an operation to get a similar outcome.
"He'll rest up and get himself ready for the pre-season."