BRISBANE'S Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale is in the frame to play Friday night's heavyweight battle against Melbourne.
Neale injured his ankle in the Lions' round six win over Carlton and has progressed rapidly following surgery.
LIONS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
Following Brisbane's crushing 64-point win over Greater Western Sydney on Saturday, coach Chris Fagan said his star onballer was firming to return.
"There's a chance that he'll be right," Fagan said.
"He's progressing really well, so the decision will be, we've got a bye the week after as long as everything proceeds as planned.
"It may make more sense to wait until after that bye, but we'll just see what happens this week."
Brisbane's midfield has been humming, winning five straight games in Neale's absence, and seven straight overall, to vault it into the top four.
Fagan says playing Melbourne, the new ladder leaders after its powerhouse display against the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, was just the challenge his team needed.
"It's big game, first versus third," he said.
"It's good that we are going to have the opportunity to be tested by them.
"We've been up for a few weeks and played some really strong team football.
"I thought today again was a very even effort. We are in great shape to be able to play a team like Melbourne who are obviously the benchmark of the competition, so we'll look forward to that opportunity."
The match is currently scheduled to be played in Alice Springs, but is still in limbo after Saturday night's Hawthorn-Gold Coast match was moved from Darwin to Sydney.
Fagan said the Lions' "cohesion and synergy" had improved markedly since they lost to the competition's other barometer, the Bulldogs, in round four.
"I know we are a better team than what we were when we played them (Bulldogs). It will be good to find that out, whenever we play Melbourne."
GWS's medical substitute Callum Brown was kitted out and warming up in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 64-point loss to Brisbane at the Gabba, ready to take the field after Giants' ruckman Shane Mumford appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury.
Moments later however Brown returned to the bench with Mumford back on the field, meaning the 20-year-old Irish recruit is now technically an AFL player, even though his first match involved zero game time.
Giants coach Leon Cameron said Brown was all set to be subbed into the game before it was discovered Mumford's issue was nothing more than a cut.
"Mummy was worried about a hamstring," Cameron said.
"Further investigation showed someone had stood on Mummy's hamstring and there was some blood in his bike shorts, so it wasn't a hamstring and was more of a cut and he was a bit disturbed by that.
"The integrity of 23rd man came into play there. We could have quite easily taken Shane off and said he had a hamstring ... in one way it was disappointing he didn't get a run the young fella, but equally the 23rd man rule is there."
Cameron admitted the whole situation was unfortunate for Brown, whose parents were watching the game in the early hours of the morning back in Ireland.
"It's a hard one," he said.
"He could have quite easily played ... there was a little doubt on Jack Buckley coming into the game with his ankle.
"Just in case Jack got through three quarters of the game and his ankle was no good, we had that backup.
"It's unfortunate, but it'll make him hungry."
Cameron was disappointed with his team's showing, saying the Lions "rocked" their young players with six early goals.
"To the Lions' credit they were ruthless in the first five or 10 minutes and probably put our boys on the back foot," he said.
"It was disappointing because a lot of them had a good five or six weeks and we probably just let ourselves down a touch today.
Cameron said some of his injured brigade would be expected to return after the bye, including Adam Kennedy, Matt de Boer, Phil Davis and superstar Toby Greene, who is "progressing really well" from his fractured shoulder.
"Some of these guys have to get through a good block of training the next couple of weeks," he said.