HAWTHORN will seriously consider warehousing big-name trio Jaeger O'Meara, Jarman Impey and Jon Patton rather than risking further injury in the final two rounds.
Coach Alastair Clarkson, at least publicly, left the door ajar for all three of them to play again, depending on how they train between now and Sunday's clash with the Western Bulldogs.
THE FULL INJURY LIST Who is racing the clock?
However, Clarkson questioned whether it was "worth it" to play them, in the knowledge the Hawks were long ago out of finals contention.
With James Worpel's season-ending AC joint setback last weekend and the doubt around O'Meara's recovery from a broken hand, the chance has arisen to select Finn Maginness for his senior debut.
Father-son choice Maginness was an emergency for last week's game against St Kilda.
"All of (O'Meara, Impey and Patton) at different stages over the course of the last two or three years have had injury interruptions to their careers," Clarkson said.
"For the sake of one or two games coming back, just to get a game or two under their belt, maybe we're better off just going with the young kids.
"But we'll make that call in the next 24 hours, based on how they train today and whether we think they are ready and will get any benefit out of playing this week or next week."
WHO'S LEAVING? Your club's retirements and delistings
Hawthorn has already ruled out Worpel, James Sicily (knee), Ricky Henderson (knee), Isaac Smith (shoulder) and young pair Harry Jones (knee) and Will Golds (knee) for the season.
Clarkson hinted that Patton, who has recovered from a plantaris tendon tear, was the most likely of the three players to appear.
The ex-Giant's fit in six games around multiple injury setbacks this season since making it back from the third knee reconstruction of his AFL career.
"For a couple of those guys, particularly someone like Jonny Patton, just playing a game or two might be just the impetus he needs to go into a good pre-season," Clarkson said.
WHO'S MOVING? All the latest trade and contract news
"Jonny Patton's had an injury-interrupted year with a whole heap of little ailments, none of which has got anything really to do with his knee.
"But the fact he's had a lack of conditioning over two years of missing footy has meant he's had these other little disruptions."