St Kilda star Dan Hannebery faces an uphill battle to return to the field this AFL season with the luckless midfielder to undergo hamstring tendon surgery.
Hannebery, who has only played 10 games in his two years with the Saints, hurt his right hamstring in round five and has not played since.
The former Sydney on-baller hurt the same muscle while rehabilitation training on Friday and will leave the Saints' Noosa hub to have an operation in Victoria.
"We obviously feel for Dan who has put in so much work to get himself right and will now need to complete a lengthy program before returning to the field," Saints football chief David Rath said.
"Dan is a really important part of our group with his experience and leadership, and the way he can influence both at training and on game day.
"It's obviously a blow for him personally and for the team."
St Kilda remain hopeful Hannebery will rejoin his teammates in Queensland.
Hannebery's setback comes as the Saints moved into position for a first finals appearance since 2011.
After downing Port Adelaide by 29 points on Saturday night, they're in the top-four mix with a 5-3 record.
But coach Brett Ratten won't hear of ending their play-offs drought just yet.
"We're not talking finals," he said.
"We haven't played finals for such a long time.
"So what we need to do is take that (performance against Port as a bit of a blueprint about what we're capable of.
"And that's the challenge for any team. This season has thrown a lot of momentum swings in games.
"It's above the shoulders, I think that is where the game is and where the game is for us.
"Our consistency to produce that is going to be the challenge."
Ratten's charges produced a sensational last quarter to sink Port at Adelaide Oval, booting five goals to none.
The Saints meet 14th-placed Sydney in Brisbane next Saturday.
The following Thursday they play Gold Coast before fronting up the next Monday against Geelong, then a six-day break into a Sunday encounter with Essendon.
All four of those matches are in Queensland.