WEST Coast’s prospects of clinching the double chance could be severely tested with Jeremy McGovern likely to be ruled out for the rest of the home and away season after re-injuring his left hamstring.
Key defender McGovern could be sidelined for up to a month if scans on Monday reveal a significant tear, according to leading sports medico Dr Peter Larkins.
However, Larkins said there was little doubt McGovern would be fit for the first week of the finals.
McGovern had a two-week layoff with the injury before his return against the Hawks on Saturday night and the scans will give the Eagles a clearer picture about his availability.
“He was still in that period of time when there was a risk of a recurrence coming off a hamstring injury,” Larkins said.
“He’ll get a scan today (Monday) to see if [the hamstring tear] is in the same spot.
“If it’s the same spot that’s bad news. Even if it’s a new spot, that’s also bad news.
“If it’s the same spot then he’s going to miss three to four weeks to get it right.”
Larkins said the Eagles would treat McGovern’s injury with caution, particularly after a recurrence after just two weeks on the sidelines the first time round.
The Dockers have their own problems heading into this week’s top of the table clash against West Coast, with star defender Luke McPharlin in serious doubt due to a calf injury.
McPharlin has had a history of calf issues and Larkins said if he has a strain, and not just a corked calf, he could be ruled out for longer than a week.
“You would expect that there is considerable doubt that Freo would put him back in this coming week,” Larkins said.
“If it’s a corked calf on the scan then that’s better than a strain.
“With his history he’s unlikely to play and it could be more than a week, unless it turns out to be a low-grade cork.”
Fremantle’s defensive problems against the Eagles could be somewhat offset if Michael Johnson is deemed ready to return from a hamstring injury.
Johnson has not played since tearing his hamstring in round 10 and Larkins said it would have been preferable to bring him back through Peel Thunder in the WAFL, considering the time he has missed.
“It’s probably a little earlier than they were wanting to bring Johnson back,” Larkins said.
“This week at training will be the critical week for testing him.
“In the ideal situation he would’ve had some competitive games at an easier level before coming back.”
However star midfielder Nat Fyfe will be right to resume after missing two weeks with a groin complaint, according to Larkins.
“His training this week should be much closer to a normal week and the expectation from them, and my expectation is that he will be selected this week,” Larkins said.
Larkins said Collingwood spearhead Travis Cloke would face a fitness test on Tuesday to determine his availability for Friday night’s clash against the Sydney Swans.
“Cloke trained on Saturday and he had no soreness out of that,” Larkins said.
“He’s got a training session tomorrow which will be at a normal level of intensity and unless there was any setback in that, then he’ll … play later in the week.”
However, star Swan Lance Franklin, who is dealing with tightness in his lower back, is no certainty for the game against the Magpies after sitting out the clash against Geelong on Saturday.
“One week is going to give him a lot of benefit but there would still be some doubt,” Larkins said.
“He has to get through a fitness test early in the week to know that he’s ready for Friday.
“I don’t think it’s a definite that ‘Buddy’ comes back, so Friday night is very much in doubt.”
Larkins also said:
-Richmond defender Dylan Grimes appears to be dealing with a hamstring issue rather than a knee concern.
–Tom Scully, who subluxed his shoulder against Essendon on Sunday, could be out for the remainder of the season.
-Bulldogs forward Jake Stringer (arm/ankle) would be fit to play on Sunday against Melbourne.
-Hawthorn could bring Brian Lake (soreness) straight back into the senior side to curb Cat Tom Hawkins’ influence after he was a late withdrawal against the Eagles.