Dustin Martin receives treatment during Richmond's match against Carlton in R16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

RICHMOND coach Adem Yze's hand could be forced as he manages Dustin Martin through the second half of the season after the superstar suffered back spasms during the 61-point loss to Carlton.

Martin played a role in the Tigers' second-quarter fightback at the MCG on Sunday but suffered the fresh injury concern early in the third term and had to be substituted out of the game.

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The 33-year-old finished with just seven disposals in the 20.11 (131) to 10.10 (70) defeat - the lowest tally of his 301-game career.

"He just seized up," Yze said. "He tried to go back out there for one more rotation and he was just battling, so it was just pointless.

"I'm not sure if he's ever been subbed before but against a quality team like Carlton, you need 18 fit guys out there.


"So for him to put his hand up and say his back's a bit too sore is a credit to him."

Yze had already flagged resting Martin on return from the mid-season bye, with Richmond wary of short breaks leading into interstate clashes with Fremantle and Port Adelaide over the next three weeks.

Martin will be given a day off before returning to Punt Road on Tuesday for further assessment ahead of the Dockers clash at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

"Whether this is a reason why he needs to miss because he's got a tight back now - our hand might be dealt anyway," Yze said.

Dustin Martin receives treatment during Richmond's match against Carlton in R16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"If he bounces out of the game OK, there's no reason why he can't play against Freo.

"We've just got to have those discussions and think about it more than anything."

Martin battled calf problems earlier in the season and Yze said the latest setback was a "random" one.

"He probably copped a knee out there, which he wouldn't have known," Yze said.


"He's a combative player and he actually helped us at centre bounce in the second quarter, so we did miss him in the second half when he went out of the game.

"Hopefully he's OK."

Premiership midfielder Dion Prestia (calf) could return against Fremantle, but Tom Lynch (hamstring) is unlikely.

Meanwhile, Carlton midfielder Matthew Kennedy will be sent for further assessment on a knee injury.

"We don't really know the extent of that just yet," coach Michael Voss said.


"It'll definitely be a medial, we just don't know the significance of it quite yet."

With just eight rounds left in the home-and-away season, Voss says his side's confidence is continuing to grow.

"The guys are just believing in how we're trying to play," Voss said.

"When you see it once, it's good, and when you see it twice, you start to get a little bit of confidence out of it.


"When you start to see it a few more times, a belief starts to grow.

"The boys (are) building some confidence out of the back-end of games that they can play that style of football if needed.

"We're not doing it from a negative position - we're doing it from a positive position - and we just want to keep playing with that courage."