Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has all but ruled out Daniel Wells from playing in round one against the Western Bulldogs.
Wells has been battling calf and fitness issues throughout the pre-season and had another scan on the troublesome muscle as recently as February 27.
The 32-year-old joined the Magpies as a free agent in October on a three-year deal believed to be worth $1.8 million.
He played 243 games in 14 seasons with North Melbourne, but only managed 31 games in his last three years there – although he only missed four matches in 2016.
Wells has failed to play a practice match this pre-season and Buckley said he wouldn’t rush him into making his debut for the club.
"We're making the right calls for all our players, and part of the right call for Daniel would be to make sure that he's ready to go when we pull the trigger on him," Buckley told Fox Sports.
"It might not be in those early couple of rounds but when you see him he'll be ready."
Bringing Wells over on such a lucrative deal raised many eyebrows in the footy world but Buckley insisted the Magpies hadn’t made a mistake in recruiting him.
"He played 19 games for North last year and after a couple of injury-interrupted seasons we’re banking on getting some quality seasons out of Daniel Wells," he said.
"If we get 45-50 games from Daniel Wells over the next three years we’ll be very happy with that. I’ve got doubt he will make us better."