St George Illawarra's slim NRL premiership chances have been further compromised with Gareth Widdop rated only a 50-50 chance to play in Saturday's sudden-death playoff against Canterbury.
The eight-placed Dragons limped into September on the back of a number of lacklustre efforts and bookmakers give them little chance of making it through to the grand final.
Losing playmaker and goalkicker Widdop, who missed the golden point win over lowly Wests Tigers in the last round of the regular season due to a quad injury, would be a big blow.
At the NRL finals season launch on Monday at the SCG, Dragons captain Ben Creagh admitted as much.
"He (Widdop) is definitely a key player, he's 50-50 at the moment I think," Creagh said.
"We'll have to see how he progresses during the week.
"Fingers crossed he'll be fit but, if not, Drew Hutchinson played a really good game last week against the Tigers and he'll do a fine job there if he has to fill in."
However the Dragons are set to welcome back Joel Thompson from a leg injury and Dylan Farrell from a back complaint for their first finals match since 2011 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
For Canterbury, fullback Brett Morris missed the unimpressive final round win over the Warriors with a leg injury.
However Dogs coach Des Hasler said the move to sideline Morris was merely a precaution and he would be right for week one of the finals.