A HAMSTRING injury to Carlton captain Patrick Cripps could provide a rare opportunity for the club's former top-three pick Paddy Dow to return from the outer ahead of Sunday's important clash with Port Adelaide.

The Blues are still assessing the severity of Cripps' left hamstring problem, which forced their skipper to be substituted out of the disappointing loss to the Suns at quarter-time.

Cripps will be sent for scans early this week, with Carlton coach Michael Voss confident the depth within the side's midfield group will be able to handle the loss of arguably the team's most influential player.

The club's VFL affiliate has enjoyed an impressive 3-0 start to the season, with Dow again among the side's best on Sunday. He won 24 disposals and kicked a goal, as the Blues recorded a comfortable 52-point win over the Suns.

It followed a performance against the Lions in round one that featured 32 disposals and a goal, and a display against the Hawks in round two where he racked up 30 touches and kicked two majors.

Dow has played just 20 games over the past two seasons and is yet to make a senior appearance this year, but appears likely to vie with Jack Newnes and potential debutant Jack Carroll for a spot in the side this weekend.

"Nothing really changes for us," Voss said after Sunday's loss at Metricon Stadium.

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"Another man comes in and we've had the capability in that group to be able to get it done. Sam Walsh was missing for a game or two and the guys were able to do a great job there as well.

"While the captain has been in great form and he's a fantastic leader and he's a contested beast – we can't dismiss that – but at the same time, that would be letting others off the hook."

Carlton captain Patrick Cripps sits on the bench after being subbed out against Gold Coast in R4, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Finding an adequate replacement for Cripps will likely be high on Voss' agenda this week, after the side was smashed in clearance (-16) and contested ball (-13) against Gold Coast on Sunday.

But Carlton is set to regain ruckman Marc Pittonet from a back problem for this weekend's clash with Port Adelaide, while defender Liam Stocker is also on the cusp of a senior recall after a successful recovery from a syndesmosis injury.

Liam Stocker during a Carlton training session on March 29, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Stocker has played two VFL games since being deemed available to return, both across half-back, but was best on ground against Gold Coast on Sunday after finishing with a game-high 35 disposals.

Corey Durdin, Carroll, Jesse Motlop and Tom Williamson are also available for selection, after the young quartet spent the last week in the AFL's health and safety protocols, while experienced defender Oscar McDonald should also return from a back injury.

Round 1 v Richmond: +18 clearance, +21 contested ball
Round 2 v Western Bulldogs: +7 clearance, +38 contested ball
Round 3 v Hawthorn: +6 clearance, +10 contested ball
Round 4 v Gold Coast: -16 clearance, -13 contested ball