GREATER Western Sydney veteran Ryan Griffen has been ruled out of Sunday's clash against his old side with an ankle injury as expected, but more worrying for the former Western Bulldogs captain is that there is no set date for his return. 

Griffen missed most of last season with two separate syndesmosis injuries, the second of which required surgery, and played just three matches.

The 31-year-old had a modified program over the pre-season and it looked to have put him in line to start the year off on a positive note, especially when he starred in an inter-club game against Sydney in February.

But Griffen was a late withdrawal from the Giants' first JLT Community Series match against Collingwood when he experienced soreness in his ankle, and hasn't been seen since.

GWS head of athletic performance David Joyce told the club's website on Tuesday that Griffen's injury was a frustrating one.

"It’s quite a complex problem with Ryan’s ankle," Joyce said. 

"He was really close, then his ankle started to swell up a little bit prior to the JLT game in Canberra. 

"We’re going to gradually introduce him into more and more demands, some rehab running and then get him back into training, and hopefully playing in the not too distant future."

Griffen's absence hurts the Giants given he was being targeted to replace gun small defender Zac Williams, who ruptured his Achilles at training during the pre-season and is expected to miss the rest of the year.

The creative half-back is at long odds to play again in 2018 but the Giants haven't given up hope of getting him back later this season.

"We’re looking at an average return of somewhere between six-to-nine months, which I know is a broad window," Joyce said.

"So, we’re absolutely not ruling out his return to action this season.

"Every day counts for Zac with his rehab and he's attacking it beautifully. 

"We're not going to take any risks with him but he's improving his strength and for this part of his rehab we're absolutely rapt.

"We just need to see how quickly he recovers and see where that takes us."