WEST Coast coach Adam Simpson says Nic Naitanui is no guarantee to feature in the club's season opener, while the immediate playing future of hard nut Beau Waters remains up in the air due to a worrying shoulder issue.

Naitanui will miss Tuesday's pre-season derby against Fremantle as he recovers from a long-standing groin injury that restricted him to just 11 games last year.

The 23-year-old is hopeful of playing one pre-season game before lining up in the round-one clash with the Western Bulldogs on March 23.

But first-year coach Simpson said the Eagles weren't willing to take any chances with their star ruckman.

"It's not about, 'Let's get him to round one'. It's just, 'Let's get him right'. It's a long year," Simpson said.

"He's not ready to play right now.

"If he progresses like he has, he'll play round one. If he has a hiccup, he won't play.

"It's a day-to-day, week-to-week thing."

While Naitanui is almost on top of his groin problems, the news isn't so good for Waters, whose recovery from a shoulder reconstruction suffered a huge setback before Christmas when the inserted pins became infected.

The infection meant the pins had to be taken out before the shoulder had fully healed.

It's understood Waters suffered a shoulder dislocation a month later.

There's a significant chance Waters will require another reconstruction, which would rule him out for most of the season.

The 28-year-old is keen to avoid that option, and will first attempt to push on without surgery.

"We're just exploring how far he can push it at the moment," Simpson said.

"We want to avoid another operation, but it may be unavoidable.

"I reckon we'll know this time next week in terms of what we're going to do."

Waters stepped down from his role of vice-captain due to the uncertainty surrounding his injury.