The Wollongong Hawks will be without forward Tim Coenraad for the first month of the 2012-13 NBL season.
A key member of coach Gordie McLeod's bench rotation, Coenraad has succumbed to an ongoing plantar fasciitis problem and been ordered to rest for four to six weeks.
The 27-year-old Queenslander joins teammate Tyson Demos on the injury list for tomorrow night's season-opening home clash with the Sydney Kings.
"It's pretty disappointing," Coenraad said.
"I kind of knew it wasn't good. When I came back from [last month's] preseason tournament it just didn't feel right, and then it pulled up really bad after a practice. I put it on ice for a while and hoped it would get better, but it just hasn't progressed as I'd hoped.
"The specialist told me that the stage my plantar fasciitis is at that I can't continue to train on it or I'm at risk of further injury.
"He's pretty much told me it's four weeks of no impact. That means no running, no jumping and pretty much no training. I have to do a lot of pool work and a lot of physio and rehab until that four weeks is up and then I can start getting back into it."
While back-up shooting guard Demos (knee) is on schedule to return for the round two road game against Cairns, Coenraad is aiming to be back on deck for the round five home meeting with title favourites Perth on November 4.
Coenraad had come off a strong campaign with the Ballarat Miners in the South East Australian Basketball League and was confident of taking good form into his fourth season with the Hawks.
Those plans are temporarily on hold but he is crossing his fingers for a speedy recovery.
"I'm sure I'll be able to look on the bright side eventually, but right now it's just frustration because it hasn't gone away as I hoped it would.
"I did another pool session today and that's mostly all I can do. At the end of four weeks I might try out for the Olympic swimming team.
"There's nothing I can do about it now other than do my best to be ready in four weeks," Coenraad said.
Despite the absence of two bench players, the Hawks remain confident of starting the season with a win over their traditional NSW rivals.
Tickets are on sale for tomorrow's game through Ticketek.