The Western Bulldogs could have four important players back at their disposal for this weekend’s clash against Hawthorn.
Key defenders Alex Keath (hamstring) and Ryan Gardner (shoulder) could both be in the mix after injury layoffs.
“Alex has made fantastic progress following his minor hamstring injury. He’ll come back into full training this week and if he ticks our final boxes, he’ll return to availability,” head of sports medicine, Chris Bell, said.
“(Ryan) has been incredibly diligent following his surgery and if he gets through training this week, I expect him to return to playing.”
The Bulldogs could also regain forwards Mitch Hannan (shoulder) and Cody Weightman (managed).
The pair would be welcome additions to help offset the loss of Josh Bruce, with the star goal-kicker set for surgery later this week following a season-ending ACL injury.
“Cody had some persisting general soreness last week… he has improved and again, if he gets through training this week, I expect him to return to playing,” Bell said.
“Mitch had a contact shoulder injury in the dying seconds of the Adelaide game. We’ll put him through his paces this week before we determine his availability.”
Forward-turned-defender Josh Schache will also be a test this week after hyper-extending his knee in Sunday’s loss to Essendon.
“He did complete the game and scans have cleared him of any serious structural damage,” Bell said.
“We’ll work through a process with Josh this week to determine his availability.”
Ryan Gardner (shoulder) – test
Mitch Hannan (shoulder) – test
Alex Keath (hamstring) – test
Josh Schache (knee) – test
Cody Weightman (managed) – test
Louis Butler (calf) – 1-2 weeks
Stefan Martin (groin/hip) – 1-2 weeks
Josh Bruce (knee) – season
Toby McLean (knee) – season