Richmond may be forced to delay unveiling star recruit Tom Lynch, with the gun forward no certainty to play in round one of the AFL season.
Lynch underwent knee surgery in July and remains at least a fortnight away from joining match simulation, according to Tigers vice-captain Jack Riewoldt.
The 2017 premiers will play pre-season games against Melbourne and Hawthorn before opening the regular season against Carlton on March 21.
Lynch departed Gold Coast as a free agent at the end of last season, joining Richmond on a multi-million dollar, seven-year deal.
The 26-year-old had an additional procedure in November to clean up his troublesome right knee and has been slowly ramping up his rehabilitation.
"To be honest I think he's still a fortnight away (from match simulation), possibly longer," Riewoldt said on Thursday.
"There's a no-risk policy with our players - if he's right to go when the (pre-season competition) rolls around, he'll play. If he's not, he won't.
"Same with round one. We'll take the slowly, slowly approach with him and we know he's going to be a great player for us in the long-term."
Lynch is set to bring a different look to a Richmond forward line which has revolved around fellow key forward Riewoldt and a selection of smalls.
The introduction of starting positions at centre bounces could also prompt the Tigers to tweak their ruck set-up given it is expected to benefit dominant big men.
Riewoldt said 190cm Shaun Grigg remained keen to chop out for lead ruckman Toby Nankervis but the Tigers also had younger options.
"He's still keen to make sure that he can play in the ruck. He loves the title of being a premiership ruckman so he'll be a chance," Riewoldt said of Grigg.
"At the moment we've got some young kids that are coming through that are exciting but Toby Nankervis is obviously our number-one guy and he's been training really well.
"We'll try a few different things. It's becoming a position where you can get some more variety."
Australian Associated Press