Collingwood midfielder Taylor Adams been ruled out of the AFL preliminary final after suffering a hamstring strain at training.
Magpies vice-captain Adams looms as one of the potential heartbreak stories of the finals for a second consecutive season.
He left the training track early on Friday clutching his left hamstring following a collision with teammate John Noble, with scans later confirming a low-grade strain.
The 29-year-old, whose finals series last year was ruined by a groin injury, will clearly be racing the clock to be fit for the grand final, if Collingwood make it.
"It's unfortunate to confirm that Taylor Adams has sustained a low-grade hamstring strain during our training session held yesterday evening," football boss Graham Wright said in a statement on Saturday.
"Taylor has been an integral part of our midfield this season, and while it's disappointing for him and the team that he won't be available for the upcoming preliminary final, the positive is that it is only a minor strain.
"Our medical staff are working closely with Taylor who will immediately commence rehabilitation on his left hamstring."
Adams has played all but one game this season - a game missed through suspension - and losing his leadership and hardness around the ball is a hefty blow to Collingwood.
The vice-captain will clearly be replaced by superstar youngster Nick Daicos, who trained fully and is due to return from his fractured knee.
Skipper Darcy Moore, who is managing a hand issue, is expected to be available after training normally on Friday with a strapped wrist.
The Magpies will play either Port Adelaide or GWS at the MCG next Friday night.