GEELONG remains uncertain about the extent of Rhys Stanley's foot injury, but the worst-case scenario "isn't too bad", Cats coach Chris Scott says.
Stanley damaged the ligament and bone in his foot late in the third quarter during a breakout performance for his new club in a win over Port Adelaide last Friday night.
The former Saint played no further part in the match and was set to consult a specialist this week, however a timeframe on his recovery is yet to be confirmed.
"We're not exactly sure at the moment. There's a few opinions out there that are a little bit different," Scott said.
"Right at this stage we're not expecting to have him in the next couple of weeks – fortunately we've got the bye next week so that gives us a little bit more room.
"But the jury's still out, so I'll wait until I get a more accurate assessment before I talk about it publicly."
Asked if there was a worst-case scenario, Scott replied: "Not that I've heard. Well, put it this way, the worst-case scenario that I've heard isn't too bad.
"Rhys has been a good player for us, but we're still in the early stages of his development as a Geelong player. So it's a hiccup, but in the context of his career with us, we think it's only a minor one."
The Cats will be forced into at least two changes for Sunday's clash with Melbourne at Simonds Stadium, which is also much-loved defender Corey Enright's 300th game.
After being subbed out of the Power win with an ankle injury, James Kelly's stint on the sidelines is also "a little bit grey" but Geelong is hoping to lose the veteran for only "a couple of weeks".
"Really with these sort of syndesmosis injuries you don't know until the latter stages of the rehab. The early signs are good, but they're not the most important," Scott said.
Jimmy Bartel has fallen short in his bid to return from a long-term knee problem to play in Enright's milestone match.
Scott said the Cats wanted to give the Brownlow medallist and key forward Mitch Clark (calf) every chance to come back in the best shape possible after the bye.
"We think we've been conservative with Mitch, so that's a good sign for a quick return for him, and Jimmy Bartel's missed a bit of footy," Scott said.
"It's really important for Jim and for us that he has the preparation he needs to come back and play at his best. He has said publicly I think that he's desperate to get back this week, so that does indicate that he's pretty close."
The Cats could hand a debut to 193cm defender Jake Kolodjashnij for Sunday's match, which is a near sell-out for the grand occasion when Enright joins Ian Nankervis and John 'Sam' Newman in Geelong's 300 club.
"All the Geelong people are (enjoying the build-up). If you ask the man himself, I'm pretty sure he's keen to get it over and done with to be honest. But it's the right thing to do to pay the milestone the respect it deserves," Scott said.
"Only the third player to reach 300 games, it's very significant and made even more so because he's so well-loved in our footy club."