CARLTON skipper Patrick Cripps is preparing to play in Thursday night's must-win clash with Greater Western Sydney, despite battling a knee injury sustained in the dying stages of Sunday's defeat to Collingwood.
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Scans on Monday identified no structural damage for Cripps, who returned to the field after hurting his knee over the weekend, but a four-day break between games will leave him with little time to recover.
Important defender Jacob Weitering is also struggling with a calf injury, while key forward Mitch McGovern is recovering from a hamstring problem, leaving the Blues with several significant selection decisions on the eve of the crucial clash.
"(Cripps) is planning to play," Carlton coach David Teague said.
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"We train (on Wednesday afternoon) and he's got to get through it and pull up well. But, at this stage, we plan to play him.
"We've got a few in this category. It's the first time we've had this shortened break, so we're having a pretty light week. We'll train today and we'll need our whole playing list to get through and put their hand up.
"What we do have is great depth at the moment, so we're pretty excited that if the guys that played last week aren't ready to go then we'll have guys who can step up and play those roles."
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Carlton is a game and a significant percentage differential behind eighth-placed Melbourne in the race for the finals, likely needing to run the table in its last four fixtures to stand a chance of progressing this season.
However, the Blues are keeping a narrow focus as they prepare to meet a Giants side also entrenched in an uphill battle to secure a top-eight berth.
"Obviously it's there in the background and you have an understanding of it, but when it comes to preparing for the game we look to what we can control and the process and how we go about it," Teague said.
"We were a bit disappointed last week. As much as we were in the game – and our ball use probably kept us in the game in the first half – we didn't really play with the pressure and the intensity.
"Hopefully, that will get back to the standard that we want every week to get better. That's our focus. Last week, there were some areas that we got better, but there were a lot of areas that showed we've still got a lot of improvement to go."