Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has laid bare Liam Picken's concussion woes, saying he may not play AFL football again.
Picken is yet to return to full training six weeks after a head clash with teammate Josh Dunkley in pre-season, leaving the 31-year-old's career in the balance.
"He may not play this year. He may not ever play again," Beveridge said on Friday morning.
The Bulldogs coach first raised the prospect of Picken not playing in 2018 on Thursday in a radio interview.
While the Bulldogs are tabling the possibility that the hard-nosed Bulldog - who is contracted until 2019 - might not return to the sport, Beveridge said Picken wasn't contemplating an end to his playing days.
"He's not talking that way. He's not talking either way," he said.
"But I think it's important we get it out there as a reality. There's every chance that he may not."
As his teammates tuned up for Saturday's clash with Sydney, Picken was at Whitten Oval in the gym.
The Bulldogs have sought additional medical advice on what a pathway to football might look like for Picken, and what risks could come with a return.
"He's had a couple of really significant concussions. This long after the JLT1 game against Hawthorn for him still to be in the state he is (is not ideal)," Beveridge said.
"But he's good. He's been in this morning and riding a bike. He can still exercise.
"For him to still be not quite right, there's some concerns that if he plays again and gets another head knock, what does that mean?
"We're making sure that when it comes to the crunch and he's feeling better then we've got all the information we need to make a decision, an informed decision, on whether it's the right time to play again."
Beveridge said the club wanted to be open on Picken's future prospects but didn't want to give week-by-week updates as it was too hard to assess.