Steven May during Melbourne's training session at Gosch's Paddock on March 16, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

MELBOURNE'S confidence is rising that key defender Steven May will return from broken ribs after just a one-game absence, coach Simon Goodwin says.

But Goodwin is yet to fully weigh the risk versus potential reward of May returning for Thursday night's fixture against Adelaide.

The dual All-Australian backman moved freely at a light training session in Adelaide on Monday in a heartening sign for his coach.

"He is going really well," Goodwin told reporters.

"We will test him out fully on Wednesday (at training), but we're certainly very confident and expect him to be available.

"But we won't take a risk ... we'll certainly make sure he's ready to go, but everything's trending towards that.''

May, suffering multiple broken ribs, missed Melbourne's seven-point win against Port Adelaide on Saturday night, but Goodwin wasn't shocked at his likely rapid return.

"Nothing surprises me with Steve, that's the type of player he is - he is a high competitor," he said.

"And right from the moment it happened, he was keen to get himself going as quickly as possible, and he's in a great position today.

"He's feeling healthy, he's feeling free in his movement, but he won't know until Wednesday whether he's right to play."


May's potential availability will create another selection squeeze for the Demons (three wins, one loss), who hold third spot on the ladder entering the opening fixture of Gather Round against the winless Crows.

Adelaide is facing mounting criticism, which Goodwin - a 275-gamer, dual premiership player and former captain of the Crows - understands well from his playing career.

"It's never as good or never as bad as you think in our industry," he said.

"What we do know is they're a high-quality side that, at their best, they play some elite football, and that's what we'll be preparing for."

The Demons remained in the South Australian capital after their triumph against Port, with Goodwin describing the consecutive games against SA opponents at Adelaide Oval as a rare chance for his club.

"We looked at this part of our draw as an opportunity," he said.

"It's not too often you get to come on the road for a week together and build that connection, build that unity, and play two high-quality opposition on their home ground.

"So when the draw came out, we didn't look at this as a tough patch - this is an opportunity to get better as a footy club, and this is the second part to that.

"We had a good result on the weekend, but ... our job is part done."