Donegal veterans Michael Murphy, Neil McGee and Frank McGlynn will miss the first half of their county's National League campaign next season.
Tir Chonaill boss Declan Bonner confirmed the news when speaking to the Donegal Democrat this week, ruling the three All-Ireland winners out for the opening three rounds of his side's league crusade.
"They (Murphy, McGee and McGlynn) are all back in training and working on strength and conditioning in the gym for a number of weeks. But they have done no pitch work yet but are due back on the pitch next week and simply they won't have enough pitch work done for start of the league.
"We will monitor them closely over the next few weeks and it is hard to say when they will be fit to play. But I think you can rule out the first three games at least."
Donegal's opening game in Division 1 sees them travel to take on champions Kerry in Killarney on January 28th before they host Galway and take on Dublin in the capital.