Judd was a late withdrawal from Carlton's game against Greater Western Sydney with hamstring tightness, and wasn't on the track during the 15 minutes open to media on Thursday morning.
"We hope he plays," Malthouse said after training at Visy Park on Thursday.
The Carlton coach said he and his fellow selectors faced their toughest week with an abundance of players available, including Judd, Eddie Betts (back from a three-match suspension), Kane Lucas (hamstring) and Robert Warnock (knee).
Malthouse said big man Sam Rowe, who has played at fullback in the VFL recently, is also under consideration.
"In the past we seem to have been not very consistent with having the same 22 available. Now you have to make hard decisions as opposed to decisions that are virtually made for you," he said.
Malthouse welcomed the return of two-time leading goalkicker Betts, who he described as "a very important player to us, (an) excellent leader (who) presents problems to all opposition".
Malthouse said the Blues are "pretty sure" Essendon will select prized father-son recruit Joe Daniher. He rejected a suggestion the Blues might try to intimidate the youngster.
"I don’t think we need to go through that sort of stuff," he said.
The clash with the Bombers' is the first leg of a tough four-week block that also encompasses contests with Hawthorn, Sydney and Collingwood.
However, Malthouse was adamant the Blues tried to prepare identically for every game, regardless of the opponent.
"Yes, we call these eight-point games and this sort of stuff (but) I can’t remember ever getting an eight-point for a win," he said. "That's the way I am, and that's how I will always have my team approach it."
He also refused to buy into talk about his new club's bitter rivalry with Essendon, which he says is a quality side despite losing three of its past four matches.
"I don’t take anything away from history … but we've got too much at stake to worry about getting caught up in (it)," he said.
"Those who take it on board, fantastic; I'm not going to stop them. But I don’t know enough about that rivalry to investigate it to use it as anything else except that we play Essendon, and they are sitting one win in front of us."
The Blues' spirits have also been boosted by the news that Andrew McInnes will return to the VFL after recovering from a knee reconstruction.
Ben Collins is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_BenCollins