A BRUTAL season marked by injuries at every turn took a farcical twist for Fremantle on Sunday, but the club is hopeful the fallout will not be as dramatic as first feared.
The Dockers were buoyed on Tuesday by ruckman Sean Darcy's scan results, which showed he was clear of injury and could be available for Saturday's clash against Gold Coast at Optus Stadium.
And key defender Alex Pearce received good news on a precautionary X-ray on his wrist, meaning he is available to replace the biggest casualty of the weekend, backman Brennan Cox, who suffered a high-grade hamstring tendon injury.
The Dockers' ability to get the run of wins they will need to re-enter the finals equation, however, will likely hinge on Nat Fyfe's dislocated right shoulder and his surgeon's assessment over the coming fortnight.
The good news for Fyfe and the Dockers is that scans do not appear to have revealed any bone or tendon damage that requires immediate surgery.
If they had, the dual Brownlow medallist's season would be over, as many feared it would be when he made his way off Optus Stadium as a member of the Dockers' medical team tried to help his right shoulder back into its socket.
Instead, the club is now hopeful he will retain strength and regain mobility in the coming fortnight to the point where he can continue playing and undergo 'tidy-up' surgery at the end of the season.
MEDICAL ROOM The full AFL injury list
It would be a welcome piece of good news for a club that has endured a wretched run with injury this season, dating back to the pre-season when the Dockers' injury list stretched to include 16 players before round one.
The club's final practice match against West Coast saw Rory Lobb (knee) and Michael Walters (hamstring) sidelined, with Darcy (knee), Griffin Logue (hamstring) and Darcy Tucker (hamstring) among those already missing.
Eight players on that round one injury list had soft-tissue injuries, but collision injuries have also contributed heavily to the Dockers' medical woes, with four players suffering concussions.
In rounds six and seven the injury list eased to a manageable seven players, but then a cluster hit in the round eight Western Derby, with Ethan Hughes and Heath Chapman each suffering shoulder injuries, and club champion Luke Ryan injuring a calf in the build-up.
No fewer than 10 players have been on the list in any week since and Sunday's injury chaos against the Western Bulldogs has seen it stretch back to those pre-round-one levels.
That the Dockers have spent so long sniffing around the top eight and sat as high as sixth after round six should not be dismissed, but it would be easy now to write off their finals chances.
It may look like mission impossible, but the Dockers' next month could be just what the doctor ordered, with four clashes against bottom-six teams, starting with Gold Coast at Optus Stadium.
They then have a bye in round 14 and take on 16th-placed Collingwood on the other side of it at Marvel Stadium, followed by clashes against 14th-placed Carlton (Optus Stadium) and 17th-placed Hawthorn (University of Tasmania Stadium).
It's a block of matches that will either end the Dockers' season at a time when they are vulnerable or reignite it and give them a launching pad to make a run for finals when the cavalry returns.
A narrow miss for Fyfe and his dislocated shoulder, if that's how things turn out, could be just the change of luck that gets the Dockers' season back on track.