Fremantle defender Garrick Ibbotson is in doubt for this year’s finals series after taking longer than usual to overcome an Achilles injury.
Ibbotson, 25, had been in All-Australian contention this season but has missed the past three games after suffering soreness in the tendon.
He has trained lightly in the past week, but Dockers coach Ross Lyon this morning said the injury was proving a tough one to overcome.
“Garrick is being slower than what we’d like, so he’s starting to get to the concerning stage,” he said.
“It’s just a niggling Achilles.
“He’ll be out there doing some work and then he’ll come in, but it’s that not getting over the hump.”
Lyon said if Ibbotson couldn’t get back on the field before the end of the regular season it would hamper his chances of selection in finals.
He said veteran defender Luke McPharlin and Clancee Pearce, who are both expected to return from calf injuries against St Kilda next week, were still on track for September.
“It's certainly a consideration,” Lyon said.
“It puts him under some pressure.
“Everyone is going to get back and play - Clancee, Luke.
“You can't go in with players that are underdone.
“But Garrick is a great athlete who has played nearly every game for two years.
“Luke's the longest, obviously he'll be eight weeks, that's a big call, but one that's quite unique.”
The Dockers are sitting fourth on the ladder going into is Saturday’s game against Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium.
Lyon said Hayden Ballantyne had been cleared to play after suffering a shoulder injury against Melbourne last week and would likely be included when the side is named this afternoon.
Aaron Sandilands is set to miss just one game and will undergo a small procedure on his fractured cheekbone today.
A strong win over Port could see the Dockers jump as high as second depending on the outcome of the match between third-placed Sydney and second-placed Geelong, also played on Saturday.