Kiwi Steven Adams may not be present when the Oklahoma City Thunder tip-off their new NBA campaign against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday (NZ time).
Adams has been listed as questionable for the game against the defending champions due to lower back stiffness.
His availability will likely be confirmed after the team's pre-game shootaround before the 3:30pm start in Oakland's Oracle Arena.
But history suggests that Adams - recently voted the NBA's toughest player - will likely be push through the pain and suit up.
If he is deemed unable to play, free agent signing Nerlens Noel will slot in at centre.
It's another blow to the Thunder's chances of a successful start to the season, with star guard Russell Westbrook also reportedly ruled out due to a right knee injury.
Westbrook underwent athroscopic knee surgery in September and missed the entire preseason. According to ESPN's Royce Young, he's been progressing well in practice but no timeline has yet been set for his return.
That means an early start for new off-season acquisition, Denis Schroder. The German will likely replace Westbrook until the former MVP is cleared.
Shooting guard Andre Roberson is also unavailable after suffering a setback with his recovery from a left knee injury. He may be out for as much as the first two months of the season.