CARLTON coach David Teague is expecting the Blues' longer break to do wonders for Patrick Cripps' sore body.
The Blues co-captain has started the season below his best, with the club confirming the midfielder has been carrying a mystery injury.
Teague is confident Cripps will return to form in quick time, and it could be as soon as this Sunday against Fremantle at Marvel Stadium.
"Patrick's a great leader for our football club. The hard thing right now is he's not playing the way he wants to play," Teague said.
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"He has had an injury and has been a bit sore but once he gets to gameday he's putting his hand up to play.
"He's not executing to the level that he would love to execute at and I have absolute belief that will happen this weekend. I'll back him in.
"He's a lot better this week, he's improving. He's really confident that each game he'll get better.
"We've had an extended break so I think he'll be feeling as good as he has this year."
Carlton simply have to defeat the Nat Fyfe-less Dockers, otherwise what appeared to be a promising 2021 for the Blues will already be in tatters at 0-3.
There will be multiple changes with dynamic duo Jack Martin (knee) and Zac Fisher (ankle) sidelined for up to six weeks.
Teague confirmed Carlton will blood Luke Parks, who was taken by the club in last year's rookie draft.
Veteran forward Eddie Betts appears set to return after an interrupted pre-season meant his fitness was not up to scratch to be selected for the opening two rounds.
Key-position players Mitch McGovern and Caleb Marchbank are tracking well from their respective injury setbacks but will likely come back through the VFL.