GEELONG champion Gary Ablett has made a sudden trip home to Victoria and will miss at least the club's next two matches against Fremantle and West Coast.
It will see the Cats make at least three changes to face Fremantle from the side that lost to Collingwood with Joel Selwood (hamstring) and Jordan Clark (shoulder) to miss.
However, they could welcome back midfielder Mitch Duncan and dual All-Australian Tom Stewart against the Dockers on July 27, with Stewart making a rapid recovery from shoulder surgery on June 29.
Ablett boarded a flight home on Saturday morning from the Cats' Perth-based quarantine hub to be with his wife Jordan and son Levi, who is battling a rare degenerative condition.
The Cats play Fremantle next Monday and then the Eagles in a match yet to be scheduled.
Both matches are in Perth and given WA quarantine rules, Ablett would not be permitted to play even if he flew back given he would have to restart his 14-day quarantine.
Should the Cats' next matches from round 10 onwards be in Queensland, as expected, Ablett would need to quarantine in the sunshine state for 14 days before re-joining his teammates.
Provided their first match in Queensland is on the weekend of August 8, Ablett would need to be out of Victoria by July 25 in order to be available for selection.
However, the club concedes it's possible the 352-gamer could miss a month or more should he stay in Victoria for longer as they work through quarantine parameters with the AFL.
Ablett addressed his teammates at the WA hub on Friday night before flying out on Saturday morning.
"He wants to get back and get playing and his objective is to help Geelong win a premiership this season," Cats head of football Simon Lloyd said on Saturday.
"The focus at the moment first and foremost is care for Gary support for him and Jordan and their challenging during this period.
"His ability to come into the football club, chirpy, happy, the care that he shows to his teammates day in day out is just incredible to see to and sit back and watch how he's carried himself and how Jordan's carried herself during this time."
Ablett will continue to train and use Cats Victorian-based staffer Andrew Mackie as a training partner in coming weeks.
The Cats revealed that Selwood's injury is a "standard" hamstring, one that will likely cost him 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
While it is a strain to the same right hamstring that he had surgery on to repair a tendon in pre-season, the Cats believe his latest setback is a separate matter.
Clark has avoided surgery but is likely to miss at least a month with his dislocated shoulder.
Lloyd said Stewart is "highly likely" to return against the Dockers after completing a high intensity contact session with fellow reserves players on Friday.
Duncan is another expected inclusion to tackle the Dockers after injuring his hamstring in the round six win over Brisbane.
The Cats will continue to monitor Rhys Stanley's return from a knee injury in coming weeks.