Joe Daniher's best hope of an AFL return is late in the season, with the injured Essendon star in the dark about how long it will take.
The Bombers' reigning best and fairest champion has not played since round seven because of osteitis pubis.
Daniher had struggled for form, only kicking eight goals in seven games.
The Bombers revealed this week that Daniher is yet to resume running.
"It's probably a little slower than I'd like, as any footballer that's on the sidelines has that feeling where you try and push to get back as quick as possible," Daniher said.
"But I'm fully understanding I need to get this right to have the best chance of succeeding at the back end of the year."
Despite his personal struggles this season and Essendon's inconsistent form, Daniher holds out hope that he can play for the Bombers in the finals.
Last Saturday night's drubbing from reigning premiers Richmond left Essendon in 12th spot with a 4-7 record, two games plus percentage outside the eight.
"Hopefully that (his return) includes some finals footy for our club and we keep winning, get on a roll and that's what will take place," he said.
Daniher was speaking at a media conference alongside his uncle Neale ahead of next Monday's much-anticipated Freeze MND event at the MCG.
The Bombers players presented a cheque to Neale, who suffers from the incurable motor neuron disease.
All 18 senior coaches will go down the slide into icy water for Freeze MND, which is held before the Melbourne-Collingwood Queen's Birthday blockbuster at the MCG.