South Africa captain AB de Villiers has all but confirmed Dale Steyn will miss his side's must-win ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan.
The Proteas' much-feared pace attack has already been weakened by Morne Morkel's departure from the competition with a quad injury and spearhead Steyn looks certain to sit out a second successive game with a side strain.
De Villiers stopped just short of ruling out Steyn for Monday's clash at Edgbaston but appeared resigned to bad news.
"The final decision hasn't been made yet, but it's not looking good," he said.
"Chances are that he'll only be ready for the last game. We're still hanging on to that last little bit of hope that he could wake up tomorrow morning and do a bit of a fitness test and look good for the game, but it's not looking good at all."
Steyn's anticipated absence should see Chris Morris make his one day international debut, while Lonwabo Tsotsobe will retain his place unless South Africa change tack and opt for two spinners.
Both teams know their future in the competition is at stake in this match.
With South Africa outgunned by India in their Group B opener and Pakistan beaten by West Indies, the loser will almost certainly face an early exit.
De Villiers believes his side have recovered from their defeat at the hands of India.
"Obviously, a lot was said in previous interviews that I was quite disappointed and hurting a bit, but that's gone now," he said.
"We've learned from that game. We can take a lot of positives from it. We had a nice team meeting about what went right and wrong."
De Villiers' opposite number Misbah-ul-Haq sees South Africa's injury problems as an issue for them, although not an insurmountable one.
"When the main players of the opponent's team are missing, it will give you a psychological advantage," he said.
"At the same time, we are aware of the fact they are a good team. They have won a game against us before when both of Steyn and Morkel weren't playing.
"So we just can't relax. I think we need to really play well, really give 100 per cent and then we have a good chance."