ESSENDON is set to be without captain Jobe Watson for its important clash with Geelong this week after scans confirmed the midfielder had strained his groin.

The 30-year-old has been down in form in recent weeks and had a quiet night in the Bombers' loss to Richmond last week, gathering just 17 disposals and a goal.

Coach James Hird revealed the Brownlow medallist had suffered an injury during the game, and the groin strain is a recurrence of problem he struggled with in the pre-season.

"In the second half he was tight in his groin," club doctor Bruce Reid told the Essendon website.

"He had a MRI this morning which shows really only a very minor strain.

"We'll see how he pulls up later in the week. [In the] worst case scenario he'll miss one (match)."

Watson required hip flexor surgery last year and missed 10 weeks in the second half of the season.

The Bombers will also be without Dustin Fletcher, who was subbed out of his 400th game with a "lower-end" adductor injury.

Midfielder David Zaharakis has already missed three weeks with an ankle injury he sustained in round six, but is likely to be on the sidelines for another fortnight.

"David's ankle is coming along OK, I don't expect him to play [in the next] two weeks," Reid said.

In more encouraging news for the club, veteran Jason Winderlich is set to play his first game of the season at VFL level.

Winderlich has struggled with a back injury since pre-season but has gradually stepped up his training load in recent weeks in preparation for a return to the field.