Bryce Gibbs will miss Carlton's clash against Melbourne
BRYCE Gibbs has been ruled out of Carlton's clash with Melbourne after suffering a low-grade hamstring strain.
The Blues will assess the star midfielder's fitness next week before making any decision on a potential return for the round seven encounter with St Kilda.
After gathering 15 touches and kicking a goal in the first half of Saturday's twilight clash with Adelaide, Gibbs experienced tightness in the hamstring and was substituted out of the match as a precautionary measure.
“By missing this week's game and then having an extended eight day break, we will evaluate how Bryce recovers and reassess next week his availability for the round seven Monday night match,” Carlton football Andrew McKay said on Monday afternoon.
Blues vice-captain Andrew Carrazzo described the loss of Gibbs as "a blow" that would leave "a sizable hole" in the Blues' line-up, nominating experienced pair Jeremy Laidler and Nick Duigan as possible replacements.
Carrazzo was unsure whether veteran forward Jarrad Waite, who emerged unscathed from his playing return in the VFL on Sunday,
would earn immediate promotion.Key forwards Shaun Hampson and Sam Rowe struggled against the Crows
but Carrazzo said they were fighting hard to keep their spots in the knowledge that a fit Waite is "probably" in the club's starting 18.
"I spoke to 'Waitey' before and he said he got through the game well and his fitness felt good," he said.
"He plays a big role for our team, but I think it'll come down to match committee at the end of the week, whether they think his fitness is up to standard and whether his touch and game time is up to the level we need it at.
"It's a long year and, being only round five, we’re lucky Waitey has got time on his side and he can still have a big impact on our year.
'We want Waitey to be in good form when he gets back. I think in the past he's probably come back too early, when his body hasn’t been in good enough condition to handle the rigours of AFL."
Earlier on Monday, club great Robert Walls said the 2-3 Blues were in a strong position to win their next five games – against Melbourne, St Kilda, Port Adelaide (at Etihad Stadium), Brisbane Lions (Gabba) and Greater Western Sydney (Etihad Stadium).
The Blues are naturally favoured to hammer the under-siege Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.
They have won their past six games against the Demons by an average margin of 52 points. In their past four head-to-heads, they have conceded an average of just seven goals, with Melbourne's highest total in this stretch being 9.6 (60).
Carrazzo says the Blues are focusing more on improving their own game regardless of the opposition, but insists they can’t afford to take the Demons lightly.
"The last couple of weeks the results have gotten a bit better for them," he said.
"I could string off quality players on every line they've got in their team, and if we don’t bring our A game and (our) lapses of five-10 minutes get bigger than they are, then we're going to have a serious game on our hands."
Ben Collins is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_BenCollins