Dangerous forward Sam Lloyd could be a chance to return to football this week.

The 30-year-old sustained a shoulder injury in the Western Bulldogs’ round four win against Sydney and has missed the past two matches.

However, Lloyd could pull on a guernsey on Friday, with the Bulldogs to take on Essendon at both AFL level and in a reserves scratch match.

“Sam has recovered quicker than expected from his shoulder injury,” medical services manager, Chris Bell, said.

“He is now back into full training and we will determine his availability over the coming days.”

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Medical Room | Latest on Lloyd, Dunkley, Gardner.

Hear the latest injury news on Sam Lloyd, Josh Dunkley and Ryan Gardner thanks to Elastoplast.

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Star midfielder Josh Dunkley took an important step in his rehabilitation today, running for the first time since injuring his ankle in the final seconds of the Bulldogs’ round three win against the GWS Giants.

“Josh is making good progress with his recovery and started running today,” Bell said.

“We will be in a position to be more accurate with his return to play plan over the coming weeks, but we expect him to return in the next four-to-six weeks.”

Key defender Ryan Gardner, who was withdrawn as an emergency from last week’s game due to calf tightness, will be assessed this week.

“Ryan had some calf tightness from training the day before the game and was withdrawn,” Bell said.

“His symptoms are improving and we will make a call on his availability later this week.” 

Injury list

Ryan Gardner (calf) test
Sam Lloyd (shoulder) test
Taylor Duryea (quad) 4-6 weeks
Josh Dunkley (ankle) 4-6 weeks
Aaron Naughton (ankle) 4-6 weeks
Lin Jong (ankle) 4-6 weeks
Riley Garcia (knee) Indefinite