Fremantle forward Michael Walters faces an extended period on the sidelines, with the possibility that he will need surgery to repair a dislocated tendon in his left ankle.
The fallout from the loss to Hawthorn at the MCG last Friday night continued yesterday for the Dockers, who are also resigned to being without Garrick Ibbotson (dislocated shoulder) for at least a fortnight, and are unsure if forward Chris Mayne (ankle) will recover in time to face Essendon at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
The club put out a statement yesterday afternoon confirming surgery was a real possibility for Walters after scans on his ankle were analysed by a Melbourne specialist.
"At this stage the medical advice is that we should wait a week to 10 days to allow the swelling in Michael's ankle to subside before having further scans," general manager of football operations Chris Bond said.
"After the surgeon has reviewed and reported on those scans next week, our medical team will be best placed to make a decision on whether surgery is required."
There is the possibility that Walters has suffered a "syn- desmosis", or separation injury, to the ankle similar to those sustained by Dockers midfielder David Mundy in 2011 and Eagles defender Shannon Hurn last year. Both were sidelined for half a season.
The Dockers will face the Bombers without Walters, Ibbotson and injured midfielder Michael Barlow, as well as the suspended Nat Fyfe, even if Mayne proves his fitness.
Defender Lee Spurr said injuries and suspensions were disappointing but part of the harsh reality of football.
"You have got to move forward and we are going to do that," he said. "It is going to be a week-by-week thing (with Walters) I guess.
"We are going to let the swelling go down and reassess and have some more scans and see where Son-Son is at."
He said Walters and Ibbotson were coping with the disappointment of their injuries.
"Garrick has been great. Last year he was unfortunate to miss out on a grand final. He has a really stoic nature and you wouldn't even be able to tell, he is so composed," said Spurr, who laid the blame for Fremantle's defeat last Friday on their lack of effort.
"Hawthorn played well and they were really strong around the contest.
"We just couldn't get our hands on the footy. We didn't have a lot of it. We just couldn't get it back off them.
"We need to work a lot harder and improve this week because Hawthorn are red-hot, they are the benchmark of the competition, and so are Essendon. They are both flying, so we have a big test ahead of us."
Spurr said the Dockers did not believe in relying on individuals and would cover the absent players.
"We don't think we are about any one player or any couple of players. We are an effort-based side and that is what we look to do," he said.
"We would love to have them out there, they are both great players, and they would help us. But we put 22 players out there who we expect to get the job done every week. The effort wasn't good enough (against Hawthorn). It shows that if you are a little bit off in the competition then you get beaten pretty badly."
" we should wait a week to 10 days to allow the swelling in Michael's ankle to subside ...""Fremantle general manager of football operations *Chris Bond *