DERMOT EARLEY'S latest injury setback is now set to rule the veteran midfielder out until Kildare's Leinster SFC opener, at the very earliest.
The Sarsfields man had been nearing a comeback after an injury-ravaged two years but a nerve problem in his back has put paid to any chance of action during the League.
Johnny Doyle is, however, due to return from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of last Sunday's defeat by Tyrone for their concluding regulation Division 1 clash with Down on Sunday week.
Kildare have already secured a semi-final berth as have Dublin and Tyrone, with the fourth spot still up for grabs.
ALL STAR full-back Neil McGee is highly unlikely to play any part in Donegal's final Allianz League Division 1 clash with Dublin in Ballybofey on Sunday week as a result of a knee injury which forced him out of Donegal's defeat by Mayo in Castlebar last weekend.
The Gaoth Dobhar man underwent an X-ray on Sunday night which revealed that he had sustained no bone fractures but has since had an MRI scan which will reveal whether any ligament damage has been done.
CORK are another county preparing for short-term life without their first-choice No 3, with Eoin Cadogan now set to miss a month's action with an Achilles problem.
It means the former dual player will miss their last-round game with Mayo in two Sundays' time where a draw would make certain of the Rebels' path to the Division 1 semi-finals and a chance to win a fourth successive league title.
Even then, Cadogan would miss the semi-final a week later while Conor Counihan is also currently shorn of some of his best attacking options.
Cruciate victim Colm O'Neill is out for the season while Donncha O'Connor, Paddy Kelly and Ciarán Sheehan are all presently on the missing list with various knocks.