Gun midfielder Josh Dunkley is in the mix to make an earlier-than-expected comeback, for Monday night’s huge clash against ladder-leader Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Both Dunkley and emerging forward Aaron Naughton are progressing ahead of schedule with their recovery from ankle syndesmosis injuries.
The Bulldogs will be forced to make at least one change this week, due to Matt Suckling’s hamstring injury.
And Dunkley’s return could be as soon as this week.
The 23-year-old – a member of last year’s All Australian squad of 40 – hasn’t played since suffering the injury in the dying seconds of the Bulldogs’ round three win against the GWS Giants.
“Josh still has to tick some boxes before he’s declared available,” medical services manager, Chris Bell, said.
“But at this stage we’re optimistic it’s going to be the round 10 (Port Adelaide) or round 11 (Brisbane Lions) clash.”
Naughton has taken another step forward with his recovery and is also likely to return in this block of fixtures, with a one-to-two week return timeframe.
“Aaron has resumed some football training and will continue to build continuity,” Bell said.
“We will determine his availability over the next couple of days. But at this stage, expect him to be not too far away.”
Riley Garcia (knee) – Available
Tory Dickson (quad) – Test
Josh Dunkley (ankle) – Test
Callum Porter (shoulder) – Test
Josh Schache (concussion) – Test
Aaron Naughton (ankle) – 1-2 weeks
Lin Jong (ankle) – 3-4 weeks
Taylor Duryea (quad) – 3-4 weeks
Matt Suckling (hamstring) – 4-6 weeks