ESSENDON skipper Jobe Watson is facing a month out with a quad injury as the Bombers prepare for a stretch of games that could determine their hopes of finals football in 2014.
The visitors scraped their way to a 15-point victory over Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night, taking them to a 6-5 record and outside the top eight on percentage.
Next up they face three games in Melbourne against the Demons, Adelaide and Geelong, matches they will almost certainly have to play without their inspirational skipper.
"Jobe is being assessed, but it's probably a quad," coach Mark Thompson said afterwards.
"If it ends up being a quad, it's probably four weeks. We'll get our heads around that.
"It's not always a bad thing as long as he has good rehab. It's just over halfway through the season, so there's plenty of time."
The Bombers should at least get some help to face Melbourne, with Michael Hurley set to return from a back problem.
David Myers faces a nervous wait, however, after he was reported for striking Devon Smith just before three-quarter time, although there was little force in his elbow to the young Giants' head.
The Bombers have been maddeningly inconsistent so far in 2014, but Thompson felt comfortable his side was always going to win on Saturday night.
"I thought it was workmanlike," he said. "It wasn't our best game, but it certainly wasn't our worst.
"We won enough of the ball at times, we kicked goals at times, we defended the goals at times.
"It wasn't a complete match, but I never felt at any stage we would lose the game.
"We would've liked to have been 100 points in front, but we weren’t.
"We have good days and bad days.
"We weren't jumping out of our skin and when that happens, it's good to win still. I don't become super critical and over analyse little things."
Thompson has become renowned for his sometimes-quirky press conferences this season and he was at it again on Saturday night.
Having made his comment he never felt his team was in danger of defeat, it was pointed out the Giants had fought back to within a point midway through the final quarter.
"Was it a point? Maybe I don't know what I’m doing," he said.
Thompson had also been laid low with a virus during a week, the same affliction that led to Jason Winderlich being a late withdrawal.
"I had a better virus than Jason," Thompson said. "And I don't have to do as much running.
"I can still play sick."