SYDNEY Swans veteran Ted Richards is fit and ready to face Carlton on Sunday, but co-captain Jarrad McVeigh's return has been delayed by at least a week according to coach John Longmire.
After struggling to overcome a calf complaint in the past month, Richards played his first game of the season in the Swans' NEAFL practice match on Saturday and got through almost three quarters without incident.
With off-season recruit Michael Talia set miss at least the next two months with a foot injury suffered against Collingwood last week, Richards looms as a logical replacement.
The defender could slip straight back into Longmire's defensive set-up to give the side another key backman to complement Heath Grundy, but Longmire said on Wednesday that there were a few things to consider when picking this week's 22.
"He (Richards) is tracking pretty well - he was able to get 70-80 minutes (of game time) in our reserves, he pulled up pretty well, so you'd have to say he's a chance this week," he said.
"But we look at the opposition's team and whether he'll play or not, we're still yet to absolutely finalise that decision."
McVeigh finally stepped up his training last week after rehabilitation from off-season knee surgery took longer than expected over summer, but was hampered by tightness in his hamstring.
The 30-year-old did his own running program before joining the main group at the SCG on Wednesday but didn't extend himself, and Longmire said there was still no exact date on his return.
"He's OK, his knee has actually been quite good which has been terrific, (but) he's been a little bit tight in the hamstring which put him back a little bit last week," Longmire said.
"He'll be training for the rest of this week and then training next week.
"We're yet to make a decision on him, whether it's next week or the week after, but we're hopeful, as long as his hamstring pulls up ok from training, that he's not far away."
Richards and fellow veteran Ben McGlynn played NEAFL last week to get some match fitness, but Longmire said he wasn't sure if he would be asking his co-captain to do the same.
"I haven't broached that with him (McVeigh) yet, I might tip toe around that and delay that conversation until I absolutely have to have it," he laughed.
"I've obviously known Jarrad for a long time and he's been a quality leader of this football club, and he knows himself better than anyone.
"We'll have that discussion at some point, it won't be this week, it'll be on the radar next week what he wants to do, if everything goes well this week at training."
Longmire said star midfielder Dan Hannebery had recovered well from Steele Sidebottom's high bump - that cost the Magpie a two-week suspension – and was a certainty to face the Blues.
The 2015 AFL Coaches' Association MVP had some minor headaches after the game but was on the track with the rest of his teammates and has been cleared to play by the Swans' medical staff.