Gold Coast Suns captain Gary Ablett will be sidelined for at least another fortnight with his knee injury.
Ablett, who has averaged 40 disposals in his four matches this season, hurt his right knee late in the club's loss to the Brisbane Lions in Round 4.
Gold Coast officials were hopeful that the former Cat would return for the club's Round 7 meeting against fellow strugglers Greater Western Sydney.
But comments from Suns assistant coach Dean Solomon on Wednesday morning suggest that Ablett will spend more time on the sidelines than initially planned.
"He just hasn't come up as well as we'd like him to and he's probably looking at another two to three weeks," Solomon told radio station SEN.
"Unfortunately the injury hasn't responded as quickly as we first thought it would so it's a big loss, but it gives a real opportunity to a few young guys to really step up, along with Karmichael (Hunt) to show some leadership out there and take ownership of this footy side."
With the pressure on Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna to improve on the club's three wins in 2011, the absence of Ablett particularly against GWS would be a huge blow.
The Suns host Fremantle on Saturday and with Ablett and Trent McKenzie taking to Twitter to criticise Dockers players this season, their coach Ross Lyon questioned whether McKenna's side respected them.
Solomon who represented Fremantle from 2007 to 2009 - played down the situation.
"We're 0-5 and I don't think we have the right to disrespect any club," he said.
"We have the utmost respect for every footy club we're playing against at the moment because we're learning our craft and right now we're really behind the eight ball.
"We haven't had a great start to the year and we think we should be a bit more ahead of where we are. To say we're disrespecting the Fremantle footy club ... we wouldn't allow that as coaches."