Dublin's 2009 hurling All Star Alan McCrabbe was risking his career if he didn't commit to surgery on a problematic hip, Dublin manager Anthony Daly said yesterday.
McCrabbe will miss the National League campaign and possibly the first match in the Leinster SHC because of the problem that was only recently diagnosed.
"It's cartilage in his hip. It's just a pity we didn't know sooner," Daly said. "The MRI showed up the real seriousness of it. He needs surgery because it could be career threatening.
"He could try and play on but the advice is (surgery). He's not yet 25; the only thing is it might be a blessing in disguise. At least he has a real chance to get a good bit of gym work done and come into the summer fresh. It might be like having a new player coming into the summer."
Dublin will also have to do without Niall McMorrow and Dave Curtin, who have picked up injuries that Daly believes are a result of the training ban.
"You're coming back in January and you're tearing into savage training," he said. "If you're doing a bit in October to December, fellas' base levels, with running and outdoor stuff, would be far stronger."
Daly also predicted that David Treacy, one of the county's most talented forwards, would be back by April after surgery to repair a damaged cruciate ligament.
Dublin have been lifted by Conal Keaney's return and on Wednesday night Keaney chipped in with a goal against Limerick in a challenge match. "He's a fairly natural stickman, he has adapted quickly," Daly said.
Daly, who confirmed that Stephen Hiney would once again be his captain, conceded that moving their games to Croke Park will not be an advantage.
"We've sort of tried to make Parnell a bit of a fortress and make sure we let nobody out of there winning easy and by and large we've managed to do that," Daly said.
"For the lads to be going into Croke Park to play the All-Ireland champions and Kilkenny, it's experience you just can't buy, but you have to look at the bigger picture."