CARLTON is confident that scans have cleared captain Patrick Cripps of any significant damage to his injured hamstring, but the Blues skipper is still likely to miss this Sunday's important clash with Port Adelaide.
Cripps underwent scans earlier this week and was assessed further by the club's medical staff at Ikon Park on Tuesday, with Carlton of the belief that he could return as soon as its round six bout with Fremantle at Optus Stadium.
Cripps hobbled from the field late in the first term of last Sunday's disappointing loss to Gold Coast, where he was later substituted at the quarter-time interval and replaced by young defender Jordan Boyd.
But the Blues believe they have avoided a worst-case scenario, with an initial diagnosis likely to only rule Cripps out for one solitary match.
Carlton expects to have four players – including small forward Corey Durdin, in addition to Jack Carroll, Jesse Motlop and Tom Williamson – available for Sunday's fixture, after all entered the AFL's health and safety protocols last week.
Ruckman Marc Pittonet and defender Oscar McDonald are also considered a chance to return from respective back injuries, while former first-round picks Paddy Dow and Liam Stocker are in contention for recalls after impressive displays in the VFL.
Meanwhile, veteran midfielder Ed Curnow has resumed running duties at training recently. The club is hopeful the 32-year-old will regain full fitness over the next fortnight.