HAWTHORN remains optimistic Ned Reeves won't miss much football after the young ruckman dislocated his shoulder in the Easter Monday win over Geelong at the MCG.
The 23-year-old was substituted out of the thrilling 12-point win at quarter-time after being helped off the ground in the hands of trainers.
Reeves underwent scans on Tuesday and has all but been ruled out of the Anzac Day clash against Sydney at University of Tasmania Stadium next Monday.
The club is hopeful the 209cm ruckman won't require surgery, but won't know the full extent of the injury until later in the week.
Surgery would rule him out for most, if not all, of the season, but if he avoids surgery he might only miss a week or two.
After playing five games in the second half of 2021, Reeves has played the first five games of 2022 and was dominant early against Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs.
With Hawthorn captain Ben McEvoy sidelined for the next few months with a neck injury, Sam Mitchell will turn to new recruit Max Lynch.
MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list
The former Magpie has endured a frustrating start to life at Waverley Park, suffering a concussion before half-time against North Melbourne in round one, before his planned return in round three was delayed due to entering health and safety protocols before he exited the concussion protocols.
The 23-year-old, who played three games for Collingwood before seeking a fresh start last October, was only cleared to play late last week and was named as an emergency once Chad Wingard was ruled out of the squad late due to a lingering calf issue.
The Hawks were never close to picking him to face the Cats, but would have been forced to if Reeves suffered an injury before the bounce.
Lynch's luckless run continued over the weekend with the Murray Bushrangers product experiencing an anaphylactic reaction after being stung by a bee.
Now Hawthorn will need Lynch to be available next Monday and find some luck on the injury front if the outcome doesn't go to plan with Reeves, given they had to turn to mobile forward Jacob Koschitzke and Irishman Conor Nash against the Cats.
Hawthorn has a vacant list spot and might need to explore some ruck depth around the state leagues or in the NAB League at the mid-season rookie draft if they lose Reeves for an extended period.
Dual All-Australian Chad Wingard is no guarantee to return for the trip to Launceston after missing the past fortnight due to a deep calf cork.
The star forward has experienced a challenging 2022 to date, managing only two and a half appearances to date after suffering an ankle injury on the eve of the season, then a hamstring issue forced him to be substituted in round two, before sustaining a calf injury against Carlton in round three.
Young gun Will Day is on track to leave concussion protocols in time for the clash against the Swans after missing Easter Monday following the incident with St Kilda veteran Paddy Ryder.
The dashing defender needs to tick off two sessions this week before he exits the protocols, but if he does then he will return on Anzac Day.