Marianna Tolo is in doubt for the biggest game of the Canberra Capitals' season with an illness keeping the star centre sidelined at practice this week.
It could scupper plans to celebrate Tolo's 200th WNBL game in Canberra's semi-final series opener against the Melbourne Boomers at the AIS Arena on Sunday.
Capitals coach Paul Goriss says Tolo has been unable to practice at all since returning to Canberra following a hectic trip to France for Australia's Olympic Games qualifiers.
Kia Nurse and Olivia Epoupa rejoined the rest of the Capitals squad on Friday but Tolo has stayed home in a bid to beat the ill-time illness.
Tolo's absence would be a cruel blow for the Capitals as they look to get one foot in the door of a return to the grand final.
Home court advantage in game one is a big boost for Canberra with game two to be played in Melbourne on February 23, and Tolo's presence would be huge against a star-studded Boomers outfit.
Goriss feared the heavy travel schedule would take its toll after Tolo went to and from France in an international window wedged between the end of the regular season and the playoffs.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS
Now she is facing the prospect of missing a milestone game she has been on track for since her debut in the 2006-07 campaign as part of the AIS squad.
"She is right now, between her and Kelsey [Griffin], the heart and soul of the Caps," Goriss said.
"Tolo has been there since she came out of the AIS, she's only been a Capital from the days from when she graduated from the AIS.
"I know she holds the club dear to her heart and holds the club in high esteem. She keeps saying the Caps will be the only club she ever plays for.
"I think that's really important to her, she continues, no matter where she goes after this year, to be a part of that Capitals group.
"She's been a leader and a captain off a championship-winning team. I know she'll be fired up for this series but also her milestone with the 200 which is really special to her.
"Not only is it 200 games for Tolo in the WNBL, she's only done it in a Capitals uniform after she left the AIS which is pretty special.
"Hopefully we can send her out celebrating after game one, I know it's a special occasion for her, she's doing it in a Capitals uniform.
"It's a huge milestone, especially because game one of the semi finals holds more importance for her, so I know she's excited about getting back here for the Capitals but also for the milestone for her."
Tolo's absence would catapult Keely Froling back into the starting line-up, where she impressed during various stints this season.
Covering the void left by Tolo in a semi-final would be one of Froling's toughest assignments.
But she knows she will have the guidance of the club's "mother figure" whether Tolo pays or not.
"She's been awesome, she is such a great leader on the court and off the court as well with how she conducts herself, and she works really hard," Froling said.
"She is also such a great person and so approachable. Sometimes older players aren't like that, so we're so lucky all our players are.
"Tolo is like that mother figure almost, you can go to her with anything and she will listen. She's just a great leader."
She is right now, between her and Kelsey [Griffin], the heart and soul of the Caps. She holds the club dear.Capitals coach Paul Goriss on Marianna Tolo
Semi-final series two (all times in AEDT)
Sunday, February 16: Game one - Canberra Capitals v Melbourne Boomers at AIS Arena, 5.30pm.
Sunday, February 23: Game two - Melbourne Boomers v Canberra Capitals at State Basketball Centre, 6pm.
Game three date to be confirmed if necessary.