Max Gawn during the round 17 match between Melbourne and West Coast at the MCG, July 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

MELBOURNE captain Max Gawn is determined to push to return from a chipped fibula after just one week, even though he's already technically been ruled out for at least two games of the Demons' push for finals.

Gawn has also backed potential club debutant Tom Fullarton to thrive if called upon to replace him against Essendon big man Sam Draper on Saturday.

On Monday the Demons ruled out Gawn for two to three weeks, ahead of games against Essendon, Fremantle and GWS, after he suffered the lower leg injury against West Coast on Sunday.

Gawn's absence comes at a pivotal point in the Demons' challenging campaign.

Melbourne sits 10th, with its finals hopes in danger of slipping away and star midfielder Christian Petracca (spleen) already out for the season.


Gawn, 32, was on crutches on Tuesday, but he wants to make a speedy recovery in time to face Fremantle and former teammate Luke Jackson in Perth on July 21.

"It's going well. I've never had this injury - not many people have, to be honest, a little chip in the bottom of the fib. And I'm very bullish whenever I get a target," Gawn said.

"So let's say it's two to three (weeks), which is what they've told - I'm always trying to beat that, and that's what I'll try and do. 

"But I can't honestly tell you that I'll beat that because I currently can't walk. The human body's amazing. 

"Hopefully within the next day or two I'll be able to walk around and whatnot, and then I can try and push the envelope and see if I can get back as quickly as I can."

Gawn conceded he was realistically a "95 per cent chance" to miss two games.

"But I'll push hard on that five per cent," he added.

Gawn will assist Melbourne's coaching staff on game day while he's sidelined.

"I'll be involved game day, certainly," he said.

"I'll be going to Perth no matter what the following week.

Max Gawn receives medical attention during the match between Melbourne and West Coast at the MCG in round 17, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm hoping to play, but if it's a chance to coach as well, it's a great part of the year, this time of the year.

"We've got seven games, destiny's in our own hands to be able to play September footy. 

"And I'll certainly be there to make sure I can do everything I can - albeit not on the field - to make sure we get a few Ws (wins)."

Ruck-forward Fullarton, 25, joined from Brisbane in the off-season and looms as Gawn's replacement against the Bombers on Saturday night at the MCG.


The Demons skipper said Fullarton could have debuted in the opening round had he not suffered a serious hamstring injury late in pre-season.

"He's had to bide his time now for 16, 17 weeks," Gawn said.

"Look, there's multiple different ways they (the coaching staff) could still go. If it is with Fullarton, I'd back him."

Gawn and Melbourne are celebrating 30 years of The Reach Foundation, which was co-founded by the late Jim Stynes in 1994, with Saturday night's Round for Reach game raising funds for the not-for-profit organisation.