WEST Coast defender Tom Barrass has labelled Nic Naitanui's latest knee injury as a "devastating" blow, just when the Eagles were starting to feel some positivity.

The Eagles have had a rough start to the 2022 season, ravaged by injuries and players entering the AFL's health and safety protocols, losing their opening three games and using 37 players in the process.

The tide appeared to be turning after West Coast recorded a famous 13-point win over Collingwood on Saturday and were set to welcome back a raft of key players for Friday's round five game with Sydney, including stars Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Jamie Cripps and Tim Kelly.

The positivity emanating around that was overshadowed by news of Naitanui's latest knee problem, which will sideline him until the second half of the season.

The three-time Therabody AFL All-Australian ruckman has had two ACL injuries in the past, missing the entire 2017 season as well as the club's 2018 premiership triumph.

Watch Sydney's press conference after round nine's match against Carlton

Naitanui avoided the dreaded ACL this time around, but the medial ligament injury in his left knee will see him miss a lengthy period.

"It's devastating," Barrass told reporters on Tuesday. "We're all really feeling for Nic especially given his history with knee injuries.

"Anyone who knows him can attest to the fact he's taken it with great attitude. We're just trying to support him and get him through this rehab period and back onto the field in hopefully 8-10 weeks and get him back firing.

"He's one of our really, really important players."

Barrass wasn't sure which of West Coast's returning stars would be available for Friday's game, but flagged Bailey Williams as Naitanui's probable replacement while SSP signings Hugh Dixon and Luke Strnadica would get opportunities in the role.

Hugh Dixon in action for West Coast against Fremantle in round three, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

"I think we'll be expecting to have between four and six ins this week," he said. "We'll get a clearer picture of that after training tonight.

"Strnadica has come in and impressed with his competitiveness. Hugh Dixon looks like a natural footballer. Bailey Williams has had three or four years in the system now and is really maturing."

Naitanui's injury means West Coast's Good Friday clash with Sydney will be without arguably its two main attractions, with Swans forward Lance Franklin ruled out with a finger injury.

Lance Franklin and Tom Barrass in action during Sydney's clash with West Coast in round 16, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles full-back likely would have lined up on Franklin, who has 18 goals in his last four meetings with West Coast, including kicking eight on Barrass in the first-ever game at Optus Stadium in round one, 2018.

"You're not happy that opposition players have hurt themselves, but you want to have a stronger team than the opposition, so if that means Buddy Franklin is not playing, then that's good," Barrass said.

"I'd also love another opportunity to test myself against him. That's what I do as a full-back.

"He's still at the top of the list in terms of high-quality key forwards, as much as it's good for our side that he's not playing, it's an opportunity that I missed out on to test myself against one of the best players in Australia."