Jamie Barron looks set to miss Waterford's crucial final Allianz Division 1A match against Clare after sustaining a suspected cracked rib in the opening stages of Sunday's eight-point loss to Cork.
That defeat plants the threat of a relegation play-off over Waterford if they lose to Clare in Ennis on Sunday week, though a Dublin win over Kilkenny would give the Déise the edge on the head-to-head with Ger Cunningham's side from the previous weekend.
Barron's absence - expected to take at least three weeks to heal properly - was a significant loss to Waterford as Cork's tactics reminded Déise manager Derek McGrath of how they had set up themselves for much of the previous two years.
McGrath feels there is greater maturity in his Waterford team now that would leave them better able to cope with a relegation play-off, if that transpires, than they were three years ago, when they dropped down after losing to Dublin.
McGrath was hoping that a win over Cork at home would give him the freedom to shake up his team ahead of the match in Ennis.
"The ideal freedom would have been with six points in the bag, it's kind of a fine balance to be struck between freedom and the psychological impact that relegation had on us three years ago," he said.
"I thought it was significant enough."
Waterford still have Philip Mahony and Darragh Fives out with long-term injuries - they are not expected back until April.
Meanwhile Waterford will examine a replay of the incident that saw Maurice Shanahan red-carded before deciding, with the player, if a hearing is warranted.
Shanahan is expected to be handed a one-match ban for his reaction to an incident involving Cork's Dean Brosnan unless he can prove the sending-off wasn't justified.