MAX GAWN faces a race against time to be fit for Sunday afternoon's clash with Carlton at the MCG as he deals with a rolled left ankle.
He was hurt in the second term of Melbourne loss to Brisbane in round 15 but returned to the field.
The ankle was swollen on Monday and Demons elite performance manager David Misson said the dual All Australian was no certainty to face the Blues.
"He's still got a fair bit of swelling, so that's going to be the battle this week – to get the swelling down and get his range back," Misson told melbournefc.com.au.
"It's likely that we're going to backend his week, but we're quietly confident that he's going to get up."
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Overall, the news is much better than it could have been after the nasty-looking incident.
"It's pretty good news actually. He's got no structural damage, no fracture or anything like that," Misson said.
"It's just a pretty decent rolled ankle."
For Carlton, Matthew Kreuzer was important in its stirring road win over Fremantle, particularly in the second half.
Braydon Preuss would loom as Gawn's likely replacement if the 27-year-old isn't declared fit.
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Preuss is coming off a 64-hitout and 17-disposal performance in the VFL.