Nat Fyfe has been cleared of a serious ankle injury and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is confident his young star will be fit for Saturday's crunch clash with Richmond at Patersons Stadium.
Lyon said No.1 ruckman Aaron Sandilands still had several hurdles to clear to return this weekend from turf toe as he stressed he would be very surprised if Fyfe was not able to play.
Fyfe's season of hard luck continued on Saturday morning when he rolled his ankle while warming up with a football in his hotel room.
The 20-year-old was withdrawn from the team, which lost to Adelaide at AAMI Stadium later that day.
Fyfe's omission was a cruel blow for the ninth-placed Dockers.
They still need to win at least two of their final three home-and-away matches against Richmond, North Melbourne and Melbourne to have a chance of playing finals.
Fyfe had been in Fremantle's best in his two matches back from shoulder surgery before the latest setback.
Lyon said scans had cleared him of significant ligament damage.
"There's a bit of work to be done, but I'd be very surprised (if he didn't play)," Lyon told 6PR last night. "Clancee Pearce had one similar in the year and he hasn't missed a game."
Nick Lower looms as the obvious replacement if Fyfe is ruled out.
Lower successfully returned through the WAFL on Saturday after a fortnight sidelined with the after-effects of concussion.
He racked up 34 disposals and kicked a goal to help inspire Perth to a come-from-behind win against East Perth at Medibank Stadium.
His presence would boost Fremantle around the clearances, an area in which Lyon said they had been pathetic in during the final term against Adelaide.
Defender Luke McPharlin will return from his one-game suspension, offering an immediate match-up for Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt.
Lyon described the Tigers as a really dangerous team.
"They've hardly been beaten by any margin this year," Lyon said.
"They've been in every game they've played. They've got their full midfield together.
"They've had a good win - two wins in a row - and they're feeling good about themselves, so we understand that it's a really important game for us and we're playing a quality opposition."
Richmond's finals hopes are remote despite them still being a mathematical chance.
They are 12th, two wins behind eighth-placed Essendon but with a superior percentage.
Coach Damien Hardwick said Richmond had made a conscious decision not to concede their 2012 campaign by prematurely sending players for surgery.
"For us to go forward, regardless of finals, for season 2013, we weren't going to pack up guys," Hardwick told Melbourne radio SEN.
"We were going to play the season out as much as we could with the list that we've got."
"There's a bit of work to be done, but I'd be very surprised (if Fyfe didn't play).""Fremantle coach *Ross Lyon *