Ospreys have admitted Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe will not be around in the short term, after making slow progress from a serious knee injury.
The 29-year-old has not played since limping off against England at Twickenham in August 2019.
No time has been put on his return, but Ospreys head coach Toby Booth hopes to see him in the 2020-21 season.
"He's delicately poised, he's not going to be around for the short term, that's for certain," said Booth.
"I'm not going to go into details from a medical point of view because I don't know enough about it, but I'm interested in having the best players available to the Ospreys.
"He needs to tick a lot of markers. It's been a very long, elaborate and complicated situation.
"I don't see him featuring for us in the short term. It's a nasty one and it's unfortunate."
Anscombe, who has won 27 Wales caps, missed the 2019 World Cup in Japan after playing a key role in the success of the Grand Slam earlier that year.
He signed for Ospreys in April 2019 from Cardiff Blues but has yet to play for the region and will be battling to play again this year.
Ospreys have signed former England fly-half Stephen Myler on a one-year deal to help cover for Anscombe's absence.
"I feel for Gareth and I'm in constant contact with him," said Booth.
"I'm involving him where I can from a mental health point of view to make sure that he feels connected to the group.
"The psychology of injuries are as dangerous as the physical aspect. We want him to get back - as everyone does - as soon as possible."
Ospreys complete their 2019-20 season with two Welsh derbies at the end of August, with the new campaign due to start at the beginning of October.
When asked whether he expects to see Anscombe in the 2020-21 season, Booth replied: "I hope so. That's what we're aiming to do.
"There's no point rushing, the time has already been and gone.
"The question for Gareth and his long-term health is his reaction to the stresses that we put him under, and we're certainly airing on the side of caution in relation to getting him back so he can stay back.
"Because of the social distancing we've been training him remotely. He's doing bits and pieces but it's very, very slow.
"We've made sure he's got very good medical care. Wales obviously have a massive interest in him as well.
"From that point of view we all want the same thing but the challenge is how quickly we'd expect to get him there."