CARLTON is bracing for the prospect of being without star key defender Jacob Weitering for up to six weeks after the Blues' vice-captain suffered a shoulder injury in Sunday's four-point loss to Collingwood at the MCG.
After making an imposing start to the game in the centre of Carlton's defence, the 2015 No.1 pick was substituted out of the game after injuring his AC joint in the opening quarter.
The Blues have been hit by injuries to key players across the first half of the season, losing options in defence, with ruckman Marc Pittonet and gun playmaker Zac Williams set to miss large chunks of the year.
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"We think it will be more on the major end than on the minor end. He will go see a surgeon early this week and decide whether he has surgery. If it ventures into that space we are probably talking more a longer term five, six weeks," Carlton coach Michael Voss said in his post-match press conference on Sunday night.
"There are some challenges within that. I've spoken to the group about you get thrown spanners. Every team does throughout the season and you get challenged at different times. Through those periods of time, which is what we've done, we've been able to find a way. That's what the challenge is ahead of us.
"We go to the break on the turn at 8-3, increased our own expectations of what our hopes are for this season. We've been able to do that by being able to manoeuvre through things, manage injuries and time on ground for some players. We've had some spanners thrown at us. We will keep working through it."
Carlton list boss Nick Austin will have to spend some time thinking about adding a key defender via Wednesday night's NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
With Mitch McGovern (hamstring) and Oscar McDonald (back) already on the sidelines, the Blues will need to look to Caleb Marchbank – who is expected to return after the bye, but hasn’t played a senior game since 2019 – and Brodie Kemp after the bye.
"We'll have a look at it, no doubt. We'll be looking to take those spots if we can. The final details of that will come across in the next few days before the draft," Voss said.
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"We have a list management committee, so anything that we go with is well discussed. We go through all the options. What we have to be really careful of though is not chasing something that we don't need to chase. We're not going to compromise our list build for that.
"I'd like to think there are a couple of specifics we'd like to go after, we still have a list that we need to manage from this point on. That takes a priority over anything else."
In his first game in the coaches' box against his three-time premiership teammate, Collingwood coach Craig McRae was forced to endure a nervous finish with Carlton kicking the final three goals of the game, before creating some chances in the dying moments.
The Magpies held on in front of more than 80,000 people, improving to six wins – the same amount they won last year before finishing 17th – after 11 rounds to draw level with the Western Bulldogs, who jumped into eighth spot after smashing West Coast in Perth.
"I love winning. I must admit, I do, I love winning. I have always loved winning; I'm a very competitive person. Any time I get to sing the song it's a great thing for our fans," McRae said in his press conference.
"I must admit it did get a little bit elevated in the last minute, footy does that. The game is just never finished, you've got to finish it. We'll learn some good lessons around that.
"I think earlier in the year, we lost a couple of games around not knowing how to win or kill the clock or get energy in the game. I thought today we did that better, but we've still got some work to do."
Collingwood now faces Hawthorn next Sunday and Melbourne on the Queen's Birthday before the mid-season bye in round 14. From there, the Magpies' following six opponents currently occupy spots outside the top eight.