MELBOURNE star forward Jesse Hogan appears almost certain to be ruled out for the club's Queen's Birthday showdown against Collingwood at the MCG.
However, the Demons could welcome back ruckman Jake Spencer from a shoulder injury after the undersized Cameron Pedersen, Jack Watts and Tom McDonald have been forced to take on ruck duties since round six.
Hogan, 22, joined the club's rehab group for his first run on the track on Tuesday and Demons football manager Josh Mahoney said the forward would steadily progress from there.
Hogan had surgery for testicular cancer in May and was given indefinite leave to recover.
"He's unlikely for (Queen's Birthday), but you never know how quickly he can get back out there after that," Mahoney told SEN.
"There's a lot of different components to this one. It's the recovery from his surgery and we've got to look at his preparation overall.
"It's (Hogan's preparation) been pretty disjointed in the first half of this year. There's also a mental component as well, so it's really in Jesse's hands."
Demons teammate Bernie Vince said Hogan's presence was a welcome sight around the club.
"He hasn't started training with us (the main group) yet, so it's pretty hard to make a call on that, but when he's ready we'll get him back in because we can't wait to have him back," Vince said.
Spencer trained at high intensity on Tuesday and at the end of the session tested his shoulder with grappling and marking under defensive pressure.
"'Spence' will be available this week, all things going well, so that'll be a decision at match committee whether he comes straight into play or we go with the same structure we've had over the last few weeks," Mahoney said.
Star ruckman Max Gawn is stepping up his training as he makes strong progress in his return from a hamstring injury suffered in round three against Geelong.
Mahoney said Gawn was still a fortnight away from being ready to play.
"He's been training pretty strongly now for the last three or four weeks in running and he's starting to do some football work this week," Mahoney said.
"He's probably two weeks away at the moment.
"We've got to make sure we set [Gawn] up for a really good back half of the year."
Angus Brayshaw is another Demon on the comeback trail after suffering his fourth concussion in 12 months while playing in the VFL in April.
The midfielder began to do some contested work at training, particularly around his positioning with players around him, on Tuesday as part of the next step in his road to recovery.
"It's in Angus' hands this one," Mahoney said.
"He's done a lot of running and we're now just building in some contest work for him.
"Now it's more about his confidence and Angus has got to feel confident going out there."