West Coast are aiming to throw Beau Waters back into competitive football within the next month in the strongest indication yet he could avoid further shoulder surgery.
The Eagles are yet to make an official call on whether the 27-year-old needs another operation on his troublesome right shoulder.
However, coach Adam Simpson said the joint was "fine" for now and it was other physical complaints, including lower leg and groin issues that were delaying Waters' return to full contact in training and games.
"He's just got a few niggles here and there that we're trying to get right before we have a full crack at full training," Simpson said. "Once we get that right, we can throw him in the deep end at training and hopefully get a game or two out of him in the next month or so.
"He tested it (shoulder) out once there last week where he landed right on it.
"He just jumped back up. I told him not to do it, but he can't help himself sometimes as we all know."
Waters stepped down as vice-captain in January amid lingering doubts about his longevity in the game. He managed just seven matches last year and none after round 15 when he was sent for shoulder surgery.
The defender's pre-season was then thrown into limbo after the joint became infected, forcing surgeons to remove screws far earlier than anticipated.
Last year's No.11 draft pick Dom Sheed has firmed for a round-one debut after collecting 18 disposals and kicking a goal in Thursday night's practice game win over Fremantle at Patersons Stadium.
A spearing pass inside 50m during the second term that hit Callum Sinclair on the chest and led to West Coast's third goal of the match showcased the 18-year-old's potential.
"For a first year and first pre-season, he seems to have adapted pretty well to the game," Simpson said. "But once again there's things off the ball that you can see he's a kid and he's still learning."
Simpson said the Eagles still had room for improvement despite winning all three pre- season games.
West Coast were well beaten by the Dockers in several key areas, losing the clearance count 39-27 and having almost 60 less contested possessions for the game.