Vermeulen has a 65 to 70 percent chance of playing
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee is still holding out hope that loose forward Duane Vermeulen could feature in the Super Rugby play-offs.
Vermeulen did not take part in training on Monday, as the Cape Town-based franchise stepped up their preparations for the all-South African semifinal encounter with the Sharks at Newlands on Saturday.
However, Coetzee was adamant that the burly loose forward was rested as a "precaution" and suggested he was a "65 to 70 percent" chance of playing.
Coetzee revealed last week that Vermeulen had started training, but by Monday he was sitting out again.
"After two big sessions one had to take a step back again and we will see how the knee responds tomorrow (Tuesday)," Coetzee told a media scrum at the team's base in Bellville.
"I would say he has a 65-70 percent chance [of playing on Saturday], which is not bad.
"However, he needs to be up to Super Rugby standard, if not he won't be part of the semifinal.
"We have still got targets to meet to ensure that he will be able to participate properly and can produce a good performance.
"Should he not be ready, we will stick with Deon [Fourie] at the back [No.8], it worked for us."
Vermeulen missed a large chunk of the season after injuring his knee against the Reds in Brisbane in mid-April and remains on the doubtful list.
The Stormers, who returned from their two-day training camp in Caledon and Hermanus this weekend, earned homeground advantage after topping the table.
"It gave us time to extend the training week a bit and to do a bit of spanbou [team building]," the Stormers mentor said of the weekend camp.
"Now it's back to normal preparations and focus. It is time to embrace the pressure and to rise to the occasion," he said.
By Michael de Vries