WEST Coast does not expect brilliant ruckman Nic Naitanui to return this season.
Naitanui, 26, ruptured the ACL in his left knee during a game against Hawthorn and had a knee reconstruction last August.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson told Channel 7 it would be a bonus if the star big man returned for this campaign.
"We're not really planning for it (Naitanui's return). It's too hard to," Simpson said.
"We'll get a sense in the next month whether the progression is going to be quick enough to come back this year.
"If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. If it does, it's an absolute bonus for us.
"He's taking each week as it comes. Little goals are his focus at the moment. The longer-term stuff will take care of itself."
The 2012 All Australian has not been running for at least four weeks, with knee pain forcing him back into cross training.
"I initially started running a fair bit and there was a bit of bone stress in my left knee so I had to limit myself in what I could do," Naitanui said.
"So it's back to the bike, back to swimming and what not. I'll be getting back into my running probably in a week or two's time. I've had four to six weeks without running.
"I still get a bit of soreness when I wake up in the morning or going up and down stairs, things like that. But not to the same extent as the early days, when I was in a wheelchair and couldn't do much.
"So I've come a long way. I'm walking and the majority of the day it's pain free.”
West Coast is thin in the ruck department, with Scott Lycett sidelined after he suffered a dislocated left shoulder in a WAFL practice match and Drew Petrie breaking his hand in the round one win against North Melbourne.
The Eagles lost to Richmond by 11 points on Saturday to sit with a 2-1 record.