KERRY have a major injury headache going into next weekend's All-Ireland final showdown with Dublin, with midfielder Seamus Scanlon at the centre of another health scare.
The three-times All-Ireland medal winner was yesterday released from hospital in Limerick, where it is understood he had been treated for the recurrence of a benign cyst on his neck.
The problem first materialised following this year's championship opener against Tipperary in May and surgeons told him at the time that it would eventually require surgery. It is believed the cyst became infected last week and Scanlon was admitted to hospital last Wednesday to have it drained and treated.
Sources in the Kerry camp said the 29-year-old Currow clubman is considered a real doubt for the Croke Park clash.
Scanlon missed last weekend's crucial two-day training camp at Fota in Cork and was unavailable for all training sessions over the past week. He also missed last night's crunch 'A' versus 'B' encounter, which was played behind closed doors at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.
If he is unavailable for the final, it will severely limit the midfield options available to Jack O'Connor and his selection team, as the experienced Scanlon was considered the only real alternative to the Anthony Maher and Bryan Sheehan pairing in the middle of the park.
The problem is compounded by the recent retirement of Micheal Quirke and the Kerry selectors know that switching Kieran Donaghy to midfield would leave them short of firepower in attack.
One option likely to be considered is to hold centre half-back Eoin Brosnan in reserve in case of a midfield emergency and that would pave the way for either Daniel Bohan or Shane Enright to start.
Impressive Dr Crokes midfielder Johnny Buckley is also included in the squad and the U-21 star could provide another option.
Scanlon is still hoping that medics will give him the all-clear to at least take his place on the bench but there will be some concern that he has missed some key training sessions while undergoing treatment in Limerick.
The 6'3" Currow man has played a major part in Kerry's last three All-Ireland successes and his power-packed performance in the 2009 championship earned him an All Star award.