NORTH Melbourne is "cautiously optimistic" injuries suffered by Ben Brown and Scott Thompson are not serious but can't say whether the key pair will be available to take on Hawthorn next Saturday.
Brown was injured early in the second quarter of North's 14-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, and after receiving treatment on the boundary and in the rooms took no further part in the game.
North coach Brad Scott said after the match the club's medicos were "cautiously optimistic" about Brown.
"But I don't try and speculate on that, just wait and see," Scott said.
Asked whether Brown was in contention to play against the Hawks, Scott said: "I honestly don't know."
Thompson came from the ground midway through the final quarter and did not come back on.
"He just had a tight groin. We just didn't take the risk of putting him back on," Scott said.
"But again initial indications are the guys are optimistic, but we'll give you more information, hopefully Monday afternoon."
Brown's injury left North without two members of its preferred three-pronged attack, with Jarrad Waite sidelined after undergoing a minor hip operation during the week.
Scott said Brown's loss so early in the game had hurt North's forward-line structure and could have contributed to his team's unwillingness to take the game on with direct ball movement.
"We thought we could probably get a bit of advantage there with our big boys and 'Browny' started really well," Scott said.
"Whether that was part of the fact when we lost him from our forward structure we were reluctant to go to our big guys as much as we should have (I don't know).
"But they lost a player early too (Clay Smith with concussion) so I don't think on balance it was the difference."
North's tall forward stocks have taken a hit recently.
On top of Waite and Brown's injuries, Mason Wood (knee) and Aaron Black (ankle) remain sidelined.
If Brown is ruled out next week, the Roos' only remaining tall options are untried youngsters Ben McKay and Sam Durdin, unless they decided to swing Lachy Hansen from defence to attack.
But Scott is confident North can cover Brown's absence if he is sidelined.
"We do have options. Ben McKay was really good again for Werribee again last week and Sam Durdin is back playing some good footy coming off a shoulder reconstruction," Scott said.
"Then there is the option to change the forward structure completely, so we'll have a good look at it.
"If he plays great, if he doesn't we'll just work out a way to restructure and go again."