Brennan Cox after Fremantle's clash with GWS in round 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE is planning for defender Brennan Cox to be available for round one after scans revealed a stress reaction in his fibula that will sideline the key tall for the next month.

Cox experienced lower leg soreness after match simulation training last Friday and was held out of Monday's session as the club sought further medical assessment.

The 25-year-old will now be on a modified program for at least four weeks before returning to football drills late in the pre-season with a goal to play in the club's season opener against Brisbane on March 17.

The Dockers face West Coast in a match simulation on February 24 before travelling to Adelaide for their final practice game against Port Adelaide on March 1.

The Dockers were confident Cox, who played 20 games last season and is a critical player in defence, could maintain his fitness during a rehabilitation program and be available to start the season.

"While it's an unfortunate interruption to Brennan's pre-season on the track, he will be able to continue cross-training during this off-legs window to maintain his conditioning before returning to football," executive general manager of football Joe Brierty said.

"Brennan has the full support of our medical team to ensure that this setback can be managed appropriately and have him at full strength for the opening round."

Brennan Cox in action during the match between West Coast and Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers have coverage in the key defensive posts after recruiting former Melbourne and Carlton backman Oscar McDonald as a delisted free agent at the end of last season, with Hugh Davies and Josh Draper providing young options.

Key tall Alex Pearce is in full training as practice matches approach, with Luke Ryan, who can also fill a key post, on light duties this week after rolling an ankle.  

Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy is also pushing to be available for the season opener against the Lions after ramping up his running loads as he recovers from a serious knee injury late in 2023.

The big man, who is yet to join match simulation training, was joined in the rehab group this week by small forward Sam Switkowski (hamstring) and Brandon Walker (leg).