The ability of Luke McPharlin to play a significant role in Fremantle's premiership push over the next two months has been cast into doubt after a calf injury forced the veteran defender out of the squad for Sunday's game against Greater Western Sydney.
McPharlin, 32, returned from a month-long knee injury against Melbourne last weekend but was restricted to laps at training during the week.
Observers said he was running very cautiously.
He was one of two confirmed outs for the Dockers, with Garrick Ibbotson also sustaining a calf injury.
The club gave no details regarding the severity of the injuries when contacted yesterday.
There was some good news at the selection table for Fremantle, who will welcome back skipper Matthew Pavlich from illness and All-Australian defender Michael Johnson from a knee injury for the Patersons Stadium clash.
Hayden Crozier, Matt Taberner and first-year defender Alex Pearce were also named in the squad of 25, which will be trimmed by three today.
The Giants made a raft of changes ahead of their trip west, bringing WA draftee Cam McCarthy into the squad for a potential debut along with fellow inclusions Tom Boyd, Jono O'Rourke, Matt Buntine, Lachie Plowman, Jacob Townsend and former Swan Districts ruckman Rory Lobb.
Key midfielders Stephen Coniglio (thumb) and Adam Treloar (groin) were left out, along with Kristian Jaksch and Sam Frost (both omitted).
McPharlin's calf issue is the third injury to force him to the sidelines this season.
A quad injury picked up against West Coast in round seven caused him to miss two games. He returned against the Western Bulldogs in round 11 only to be sidelined again a fortnight later with a knee injury.
The latest injury raises concerns about his future, given the 2012 All- Australian missed the final eight games of the regular season last year with a calf tear.
But his ability to return and play every final for the club would give pundits some hope he can repeat that performance this season.
Taberner is a strong chance of replacing McPharlin against the Giants when teams are finalised today.
A win on Sunday will put the Dockers just one game away from equalling the club's longest winning streak of nine matches, achieved in 2006.