ESSENDON continues to take a game-by-game approach with Joe Daniher as the Bombers weigh up whether to play the star forward against Geelong on Sunday.
Daniher returned last week from more than a year on the sidelines due to his ongoing groin troubles but will be in for his third game in 11 days if he faces the Cats.
Bombers coach John Worsfold said the club would consult with the restricted free agent after Friday's light session before making a call on his availability.
"Joe's pulled up really well which is great from his first couple of hitouts, but we will assess him today post-training and make a call this afternoon about the best management of his load going forward," he said.
DONS' CONTRACT CRUNCH McGrath, Saad, Joe, more
"The shorter game times are making a big difference in how players are pulling up post-game. We'll weigh that up with his workload versus what we've got coming up.
"We're weighing up how he feels overall so today's a pretty light session as they all are between the five day breaks so we don't have to see anything in particular from Joe. It’s around assessing exactly how he's feeling today and then us picking a side that we think takes everything into account.
"He's a big chance to play on Sunday."
Daniher booted 3.3 in his brilliant return game against Hawthorn but was wasteful in front of goal against West Coast on Tuesday night, when he kicked 0.3 and missed some straightforward shots as Essendon was making its charge.
The 26-year-old accuracy in front of goal has been an issue throughout his career and Worsfold said the long rehabilitation process meant he was unable to focus on his set-shot kicking for most of his time out of the game.
"It would be fair to say that through a long part of his rehab he wasn't able to do a lot of kicking but in the last eight or 10 weeks he's been doing full training and has been able to do his loads and practice his shots at goal," Worsfold said.
"That's like any sportsperson is doing in any sport: practice your craft and you become expert at it. Joe had a big layoff and his goal should be to work back and become the best he can at that part of his game."
Mitch Hibberd, Brayden Ham, Tom Cutler and Kobe Mutch loom as possible replacements for gun midfielder Andrew McGrath, who will miss the rest of the season with a syndesmosis injury.
He is the latest Bomber to be struck by the syndesmosis curse, with Jake Stringer and Jayden Laverde other casualties this year.
Dyson Heppell, too, suffered a fractured ankle in a training incident, leaving Essendon as one of the biggest injury-hit clubs since returning to the field after the COVID-19 shutdown of the competition.