Wigan Warriors skipper Sean O'Loughlin has been ruled out for at least four weeks through injury but is expected to be available for the start of England's World Cup campaign.
The tough-tackling loose forward suffered a tear in his Achilles tendon during the Warriors' 16-0 Challenge Cup final win over Hull FC at Wembley 11 days ago.
O'Loughlin, who had been struggling with a calf strain in the run-up to Wembley, has had his ankle placed in a surgical boot yet coach Shaun Wane is hoping he could be fit to return for the Grand Final on October 5 if Wigan get there.
"He'll be in a pot for four weeks and won't know how he is until he gets that off," Wane told a news conference at Orrell.
"We've not 100% ruled him out of everything and, if we are lucky enough to get to the Grand Final, he will have a chance of that.
"He looks after himself and, knowing the way he responds, if anyone can get back, he can.
"It is a blow but we will have to win games without him, which we have this year.
"It's not a death in the family. If he doesn't play again this year, it will be an opportunity for someone else.
"He's a great player but we have other great players in our team to compensate."
After another stellar season, O'Loughlin looks sure to be included in the 2013 Super League Dream Team when it is unveiled on Monday and would be a certainty for England coach Steve McNamara's 23-man World Cup squad.
Wane says his captain would play in the tournament with his blessing as long as he is given assurances about his fitness.
"If I'm convinced 100%, then I'm okay with that," Wane said. "He wants to play for his country, he's very proud."
Wigan will also be without Wales prop Gil Dudson, who has a minor shoulder injury, for tomorrow's final game of the regular season against Leeds Rhinos at the DW Stadium.