Dublin's first-choice centre-back Ger Brennan has been ruled out of their Leinster semi-final in 10 days' time.
The Dublin management confirmed yesterday that the doughty St Vincent's defender had surgery on an ankle recently.
Manager Jim Gavin said that Brennan is "four weeks away at this stage," which indicates that he still has a lot of work to do if they beat Wexford on Sunday week to reach the provincial final on July 20.
Brennan has not played for Dublin at all yet this year. He had stomach surgery last winter and his involvement with Dublin in the league was also curtailed by St Vincent's run to the All-Ireland club title.
He came out of that victorious club campaign with an ankle injury but it appears that complications have delayed his comeback.
"It's been a bit stop-start for Ger," Gavin admitted. "He's back training so we hope to see him soon. He's back in the gym with us for a few weeks now. The game against Wexford is too early, he's four weeks away at this stage."
Gavin revealed that the last time Brennan played with Dublin was six weeks ago, saying: "It's been prolonged for a while. He's working away with the medical team."
Ballinteer's Nicky Devereux got the onerous task of filling the No 6 shirt for the Dubs' opening-round defeat of Laois and looks likely to hold on to that shirt on Sunday week.
There's better news for the Dubs on Bernard Brogan's hamstring tweak against Laois as he has since returned to full training, as has Denis Bastick.
Dublin may be hot favourites to retain their provincial and Leinster titles but Gavin said that the sight of Spain going out of the World Cup mid-week has underlined to his team that "there are no guarantees in sport".
"There's plenty of examples and the team are acutely aware of that," he said, when asked about the Clare hurlers' defeat last weekend. "Some of the guys would have experienced it in 2012 and I experienced it in 1996," he said of Dublin failure to retain their All-Ireland titles.
"There's so many good teams out there so there are no guarantees when you play sport at this elite level."