Foot infections and immigration delays will open the door for new faces to make their mark for the start of the Canberra Capitals' title defence.
Star Marianna Tolo has been ruled out of the WNBL season-opener against the Adelaide Lightning at the AIS Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Recruit Mikaela Ruef's availability is in doubt as she waits for United States and Australian immigration officials to tick off her paperwork to become a permanent resident.
But the uncertain process has Capitals coach Paul Goriss bracing for a yet-to-be determined time without Ruef on the court.
Most valuable player of the championship-winning season has only just returned to full-time training after off-season operations, while Kristy Wallace is still unavailable as she recovers from a knee reconstruction.
The Capitals, though, are aiming high and want to start their bid for back to back championships with a win against the team they beat in the grand final last season.
Keely Froling will get her opportunity to step after a whirlwind off-season, which has included travelling around the world to play in three on three tournaments.
"You don't want to go into the first game with injuries and three-quarters of a squad, but we dealt with that last year as well," Goriss said.
"We've got to be mindful of limiting minutes and court times to make sure we don't overplay people in the first week of the season.
"You don't win a championship in the first week, you've got to build.
"I had a talk to Keely yesterday, this opens up an opportunity for her. But it's one she deserves with what she's done in the last 12 months ... she's getting better and better. This her opportunity to take that and help us deliver a win."
WNBA star Kia Nurse will arrive in Canberra on Thursday, while French international Olivia Epoupa is relishing the chance to start her first season in Australia.
"I feel better and better. Each practice is an opportunity to get better and have a connection with my teammates," Epoupa said.
"I know the time is short so I have to be quick to have good adaption. It doesn't matter if we have injuries, we just have to be ready. There's no excuses."
WNBL ROUND ONE
Sunday: Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at AIS Arena, 1.30pm.