St Kilda are unable to put a timeline on Dan Hannebery's return to AFL action after the high-priced midfielder suffered another soft tissue setback.
Hannebery has been unable to push himself beyond a certain level in his rehabilitation from a calf injury that has been troubling him since January.
It has now led to the 30-year-old's program being drawn out longer than planned.
Hannebery has managed just 13 matches for the Saints since arriving from Sydney during the 2018 trade period, and has not yet played a senior game this season.
"He's sort of got to a point where he's done a fair bit of work and we were just building him up slowly, but we're just going to take our time now with that to make sure that he can take the next step," St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.
"If we've got to put a bit of time into him with the maintenance side of it, we'll do that.
"But I think he's worked extremely hard to get his body right and it's one of these things that you just feel for him.
"He's persisting with everything and I think it will turn, but it's just taking a long time."
Hannebery is contracted for 2022 and has a trigger clause for the following year.
Meanwhile, St Kilda are weighing up when to send Jarryn Geary for surgery after the co-captain dislocated his shoulder during last week's narrow defeat to Sydney.
Geary is unavailable for Saturday night's clash with Adelaide in Cairns and a decision will be made on the surgery after the Saints return to Melbourne next week.
"He can play with it but he could cause more damage," Ratten said.
"It's risk versus reward, so we've got to have a look at that, but he won't play for a while."
Geary has endured a raft of injuries in recent seasons and missed the start of the 2021 campaign because of a broken leg from a training mishap in January.
The 32-year-old also missed most of 2019 because of a broken leg and compartment syndrome and has played just 24 of a possible 53 games since the start of that year.