ESSENDON hasn't ruled out Jake Stringer from facing West Coast on Thursday night, but the forward faces a battle to be fit in time for the clash.
Stringer suffered a lower leg injury in last week's win over Hawthorn, and sat out most of the second half.
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He was cleared of any fracture of structural damage over the weekend, but Essendon says he is a "slight chance" to play against the Eagles at Optus Stadium.
"We really weren't sure of what the injury was and it could have been a number of things that were fairly average so it was really good news," coach John Worsfold said on Monday.
"Now it's just a matter of assessing how he's feeling and what he's going to be able to do. We'll monitor that day by day."
The 25-year-old has been a key part of Essendon's front half this season, booting 18 goals from 11 games.
Forwards Mitch Brown and Aaron Francis are likely to fight it out to replace Stringer should he not be passed fit.
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With its year placed evenly at 6-6, the next two weeks loom as season-shaping games for Essendon, playing West Coast and then fellow premiership fancy Greater Western Sydney (in Melbourne).
The Bombers beat the Eagles on the road in round 14 last year, but Worsfold said the respective line-ups had changed too much for Essendon to use the game as a guide on how to beat last year's premiers.
STRAIGHT TO THE TRIBUNAL Stratton let himself down
The coach again could not be drawn on the pinching inflicted on forward Orazio Fantasia by Hawthorn skipper Ben Stratton during Friday's contest.
Stratton will face the Tribunal on Tuesday night after being charged with serious misconduct for the actions, but Worsfold said he was pleased it didn't impact Fantasia's output.
"Orazio played out the game. Obviously, it annoyed him but it didn’t impact his ability to perform," he said.
"That would have been my major concern, if there's something happening that's holding a player back from performing you'd hope something happens about that."