Galway manager Micheál Donoghue says that All-Ireland winning captain David Burke, and star forward Joe Canning, are 'still a few weeks off' making their return to the panel for the 2018 season.
Donoghue told the Irish Examiner last November that Canning had undergone minor keyhole surgery, while Burke is carrying a small knock. Both players were rested from the the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic in Boston as a result.
They were also absent from the squad that welcomed Antrim to Pearse Stadium on Sunday for a first-round Division 1B Allianz League clash, and Donoghue says they need more time to recover.
"He's (Burke) probably a few weeks away," Donoghue told RTÉ Radio 1 Sunday Sport after Galway's victory over Antrim.
"There's still a few lads carrying a few knocks. And we're just very mindful of the Fitzgibbon and the schedule of a number of the players in college as well and their workload."
He added that although 2017 Hurler of the Year Canning has resumed some light training, the Portumna man still needs more time before he can resume collective training.
"He's back doing a small bit, but he's still a good few weeks off," Donoghue added.
The visiting Antrim side came close to stunning the All-Ireland champions in the league through a late Conor McCann goal, but experienced players including John Hanbury, Davy Glennon and Cathal Mannion steered Galway to a three-point win after being sprung from the bench.
Donoghue praised his side for the character they showed when the victory looked to be slipping from their grasp.
"That's the pleasing thing. With 10 minutes to go, the game was there to be won as I said and we were fortunate to tag on a few scores. When it was there to be won, the boys did step up. We'll go away realising that we were fortunate and a lot of work to do.
"I said it earlier in the week, there's a realisation of where we are. I think it was quite evident today that we were lucky to get out of here with two points. I think a lot of credit goes to Antrim, they brought huge intensity to the game."