NIC NAITANUI and West Coast will have to weigh up the best surgical option to repair the ruckman’s ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Naitanui met with West Coast's consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dr Peter Annear on Monday to discuss the best option for his reconstruction.
The 26-year-old is such a valuable asset to the Eagles that the club will be extremely thorough in making a decision on what type of surgery to have.
"I'm just weighing up my options on what I do and how I go about it," Naitanui told Channel Seven on Monday.
"There's a fair few different varieties of surgeries that they can do but we'll go down the path of sitting down today and tomorrow and figuring out what we do."
A knee specialist told AFL.com.au that the Eagles would consider all types of ACL reconstruction for Naitanui.
The most common option is to have a hamstring graft, which could leave Naitanui prone to hamstring tears or strains during his rehab. The patella tendon graft could have ramifications for quad strength and knee stability in his jumping leg. A hybrid LARS-hamstring graft could also be considered.
The surgery will be done in Perth later this week once Naitanui's swelling has subsided and he has an appropriate range of movement in his knee.
The challenge for Naitanui and the Eagles will come in the recovery. It is possible he could recover by the 10-month mark, July 2017, but any minor setback along the way would be treated with extreme caution. West Coast's form in 2017 will also have a significant bearing on the timing of his return.
The star ruckman was incredibly upbeat when he spoke about his season-ending injury on Monday.
"There's worse things going on in the world," Naitanui said.
"It's just a little injury. Obviously it's tough for myself and my teammates and family and friends.
"But like I said, you've got to put it in perspective.
"It's nothing too bad.
"I'm in good spirits."
Meanwhile coach Adam Simpson told 6PR on Monday night he was weighing up his options to replace Naitanui. The Eagles rested Jonathan Giles from WAFL duties last weekend to ensure his availability but he won't be an automatic choice to face Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Mitch Brown will be considered and Jeremy McGovern could also do the role again although it would come at a cost to the Eagles' defensive structure.
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said Jack Darling could also be considered as an option to pinch-hit in support of Scott Lycett.
"We had to do that on the weekend," Simpson said.
"He was serviceable. His strength would be what we get from him around the ground. That's the appealing part. But you've also got to think what you lose as a forward as well.
"It's really hard to play that forward-ruck position having never done it for a start but also giving us something in both areas. It's asking a fair bit, but you never know, that could be something we look to do as well."