Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has revealed Shaun Hampson's back injury is recovering more slowly than expected, with fears the injury could hang around for "maybe 12 months".
The Tigers put the 29-year-old ruckman on the long term injury list in March after battling a back injury over the pre-season.
Hardwick said the injury wasn't recovering as quickly as he'd hoped after the big man suffered a setback last week.
"(He's tracking) slowly, unfortunately," he told reporters on Friday.
"He had a setback, I think it was last week again.
"Unfortunately with backs, you're never quite sure how they're going to respond. He'll be moving well and then all of a sudden something won't feel right and he'll go back a little bit."
Hardwick had fears it could be one of those back injuries that lasts all year.
"I'd probably say it's going to be longer than we initially thought. How long, we're not too sure," he said.
"It's always in the back of your mind that it's one of those ones that might hang around for maybe 12 months."
Nonetheless, Hardwick was hopeful Hampson could return sooner rather than later.
"When he's up and available, he's a really important player to us, so we've just gotta make sure," he said.
"We're confident that with the right work and with the medical attention he's getting that he'll bounce back at some stage.