The Breakers have confirmed star guard Corey Webster won't get clearance in time to play in Friday's season-defining NBL showdown with Brisbane.
Webster returned to Auckland this week after cutting short his stint in the Chinese League, which has been shut down for health reasons following the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.
The fifth-placed Breakers had raised the possibility of rushing their Tall Blacks shooting guard back for the showdown with the fourth-placed Bullets.
The Kiwi club must win if they're to have any chance of reaching the finals.
However, Breakers owner Matt Walsh said Webster needs to receive a letter of clearance from Zhejiang Guangsha but that is unlikely while the status of the Chinese League remains in limbo.
If the league is cancelled then Webster can expect a quick release.
Walsh said it is unlikely to happen in time for the 31-year-old to play in either of the remaining regular season games but could be forthcoming for the finals, if the Breakers qualify.
Walsh said NBL officials had already indicated to him Webster would be free to return for the Breakers, where he is contracted to play for the next two seasons.
The shooting guard left Auckland to take up a lucrative Chinese offer midway through the NBL season. At that stage the Breakers' record was 4-10 but they have since gone on a 9-3 run without him.