Paul Seedsman is "trending well" in his ongoing recovery from a pre-Christmas concussion but remains without a timeline to return as Adelaide treads cautiously with its star wingman.
Seedsman received a knee to the back of the head in a marking contest two months ago and is dealing with lingering concussion symptoms that are preventing him from taking part in contact training.
Coach Matthew Nicks was hopeful the 30-year-old would be available as soon as possible, but conceded the former Magpie was still negotiating setbacks in his recovery.
"The trend is upwards, he's trending well, but we are in no rush at all," Nicks said.
"Paul knows that as well and he is of the same thought process.
"We're not going to take any risks … it's a delicate space, because we're learning a lot about concussion and Paul took quite a knock.
"We're still consulting (and) our guys do a lot of work around the (concussion) area and consult a lot of experts.
"We hope to see Paul back as soon as possible."
Seedsman, who finished third in the Crows' best and fairest last season, was subject to the AFL's concussion guidelines after the incident last December but continued to report some symptoms when he returned to the club after the Christmas break.
He has since re-started a running program and given the Crows hope at times that a return to full training was not far away.
"He'll take three or four steps forward and then he'll take one step back where he maybe just pushed it too hard in a session, or he reached a threshold where he just needs to calm things down for 24 hours before he bounces back again," Nicks said.
"What we see is three days where we think, 'Wow, he's a chance to really get back into full training before we know it', and then we'll just have a little setback."
Seedsman was named in the 40-man All-Australian squad last year after a career-best season, averaging 26.1 disposals and ranking No.5 in the AFL for both inside 50s (5.7) and metres gained (599.1m).
His potential absence at the start of the season could be covered by the arrival of former Sydney half-back Jordan Dawson, who has spent the pre-season training in wing and on ball roles.
"He's really keen to get a little bit more on ball time," Nicks said of Dawson, whose ability to hit the scoreboard in match simulation has also impressed.
"He finished the season on the wing and that's where he took his game to the next level and stood out to a lot of clubs.
"He's a very talented footballer (and) we've loved what we've seen this pre-season."
Returning half-back Wayne Milera, who is closing in on his first game in almost two years, also shapes as a wing option for the Crows eventually after serious foot and knee injuries ruined his 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Building match fitness is the next challenge for the 24-year-old, with Nicks hopeful of seeing the classy ball-user in one of the club's two pre-season practice matches.
"He's been outstanding through the pre-season, playing a little bit of wing and on ball, but also playing a little bit of half-back," the coach said.
"If you ask Wayne, his most comfortable position would be half-back, but I think in time when he settles back into footy again, he'd be keen to get himself in the midfield.
"That's a question we've been working through and we've done a fair bit of work with Wayne on that to make sure he feels comfortable."