Canberra Capitals star Michelle Cosier has refused to give up hope of playing in her team's WNBL campaign despite knowing it could take up to six months to overcome a groin injury.
Cosier's worst fears were confirmed yesterday when the debilitating osteitis pubis injury ruled her out of action for at least the first three months of the season.
The shattered 29-year-old said she felt ''like I've let my teammates down'', and hoped to be fit for a return to the court in January.
With no clear recovery period, Cosier admitted she could be forced into a frustrating stint on the sideline and miss the entire season.
With only two weeks to go before the Capitals' round-one clash against the Bulleen Boomers, her absence leaves a massive hole in Carrie Graf's squad.
However, the seven-time WNBA title wining coach said the club did not have enough time or money to sign a new player, and was relying on her recruits - in particular Molly Lewis and Mikaela Dombkins - to fill the void.
''It's a huge blow. The problem is we don't have the funds available to get someone else in,'' Graf said.
''It's up to Muss [Cosier] to be diligent with her rehab to get her back as quick as we can but until then we'll have to go with what we've got.
''It creates opportunities for Molly Lewis and it certainly means we're looking much more closely at Mikaela Dombkins as an option.''
The Capitals begin their bid for an eighth WNBL championship when they take on the Boomers in Melbourne on October 8.
Cosier has been trying to manage a persistent groin problem in recent months but realised it was worse than first thought after an up-tempo running session last week. A bone scan revealed she has osteitis pubis, and she will not join her teammates in any running training until at least the end of December.
Cosier said sitting on the sideline would be heartbreaking as the Capitals looked for revenge after losing last season's grand final.
''I'm going to push myself with core body work and hopefully play in January,'' Cosier said.
''I've got to stay positive and do all the hard work off the court to stay in shape. I thought it was getting better but after running I pulled up sore and knew something was wrong.
''It's pretty intense pain, I was going through days where I could hardly walk or sit but I just have to make sure I don't aggravate it any more.''
The combination guard-forward missed the entire 2009-10 season because she was pregnant with son Brodie, but returned to the court last year and started to rediscover her best form.
She averaged 11.5 points and six rebounds a game to help the Capitals into the grand final.
The veteran of 10 WNBL campaigns said surgery was not an option. She will attempt to get back on the court for the last seven games of the season.
Even if she failed to take the court during the 2011-12 season, Cosier was confident her career would not be over.
''I don't really want to go into surgery, that's not something I'm looking to do,'' Cosier said.
''I'm still going to be involved and it's in my hands to see if I can get back out there to help my teammates.
''I just feel like I've let my teammates down a bit so I'll be doing everything I can to get back.''
WNBL pre-season matches: Canberra Capitals v AIS, at AIS Training Hall, 1.45pm. September 27: Capitals v AIS, at AIS Training Hall, 5pm.
WNBL round one: Capitals v Bulleen Boomers, at Veneto Club, 1pm. October 9: Capitals v Dandenong Rangers, at Dandenong, 12.30pm.