Gold Coast captain Tom Lynch may have played his last game for the Suns after being booked for season-ending knee surgery.
The off-contract free agent claimed he was in no rush to decide his future after finally succumbing to a posterior cruciate ligament complaint he's nursed through the AFL season.
But the forward's extended sidelines stint has only intensified speculation he might be the next high-profile Sun to leave.
The 25-year-old has been linked to Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn.
"Obviously, there is going to be commentary around my contract with the news of me being ruled out for the rest of the season. I'm realistic to understand that," Lynch said in a statement.
"Post-surgery, I'm sure the time will come where I'll sit down with my manager and work through what the best option going forward is.
"Clearly, I've got a decision to make on my future but the reality is I haven't made that decision."
In recent seasons the Gold Coast have lost the likes of Gary Ablett (Geelong), Jaeger O'Meara (Hawthorn), Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy (Richmond), Harley Bennell (Fremantle) and Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide).
Lynch - a 2016 All-Australian - managed just 10 games this year due to the ongoing knee injury.
He missed four games this year as he tried to nurse the complaint through the season but was told by specialists on Thursday that surgery was the best option.
"It's a really disappointing to know that I'm going to have to have surgery and not play out the season," Lynch said.
"I've been doing all I can to rehab the injury without requiring surgery. That has meant I haven't been able to get out there and train with the team during the week like you normally would.
"We've been assessing my knee weekly and the latest advice recommends surgery and I'll get that done as soon as possible."
Suns football operations boss Jon Haines said Lynch faced a four- to six-month recovery from knee surgery.
"Tom has displayed terrific leadership and great character to manage the issue to this point," Haines said.
"Following detailed consultation with Tom, the club doctor and the relevant specialists, we have all agreed that surgery to repair his PCL is the most appropriate decision.
"Surgery means Tom will not be able to play for somewhere between four to six months.
"Post-surgery, we will do all we can to ensure he recovers fully from the operation."
Picked at No.11 in the 2010 Draft, Lynch was named Suns co-captain with Steven May at the start of the 2017 season.
He has kicked 254 goals in 131 games for Gold Coast, also claiming two club best and fairest awards.
Lynch has played in only 37 wins for the Suns.