WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson is hopeful Beau Waters will play on next season but says the defender will need to re-evaluate his troublesome right shoulder at the end of the year.
Waters was forced to have a second shoulder reconstruction last week after an infection ruined his chances of recovering from last year's operation.
Simpson is optimistic Waters will be able to return to the field next season but said a final decision wouldn't be made for some time.
"Of course he's going to be banged up when he finishes his career (but) there's still no permanent damage risk," Simpson told Perth radio station 6PR.
"We'll sit down at the end of the year and see where it's at in terms of how it's healed.
"At this stage, hopefully he's up for it and will go around again."
Waters has a history of being able to recover from serious injuries.
The hard-nut defender was plagued by groin problems early in his career but returned with a bang to help the club win the 2006 premiership.
A dislocated elbow threatened to prematurely end his career in 2008 and again in 2011 but he rebounded from those setbacks to win All Australian selection in 2012.
Waters has only managed 120 games during his 11-year career but his bravery has earned him respect across the competition.
Meanwhile, Simpson is confident midfielder Chris Masten will be fit for Sunday night's clash with North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.
Masten was subbed out of last week's loss to Collingwood with a tight hamstring but scans have cleared him of any damage.
The Eagles will be bolstered by the return of star forward Mark LeCras from suspension in a match they are desperate to win in order to stay in touch with the top eight.
West Coast sits in ninth spot with a 4-5 record, while North Melbourne (5-4) is clinging to eighth spot following last week's loss to Geelong.