COLLINGWOOD captain Scott Pendlebury could return as soon as next week after having surgery on his injured finger on Monday night.
The skipper hurt his finger against the Gold Coast and was ruled out immediately from Sunday's game against West Coast with fears on Monday that he might miss the rest of the season.
However, Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh told collingwoodfc.com.au an assessment would be made next week on whether the 29-year-old could play against Adelaide at the MCG.
Match preview: Collingwood v West Coast
"It was pinned and there is a small plate in there as well," Walsh said.
Walsh said the durable skipper's comfort levels would be considered and he might even wear a guard if it helped him return.
"All those things will be taken into consideration after this week and then we will see if he is close to resuming the following week," Walsh said.
The Magpies have not been without Pendlebury since round 21, 2014 when they lost to the Brisbane Lions in catastrophic fashion after the skipper withdrew late and then injuries hit the team.
Their overall record without the five-time Copeland Trophy winner is positive however, with the Magpies having won 10 of the 17 games Pendlebury has missed since he made his debut in round 10, 2006.
The durable captain had reeled off 62 consecutive games before the finger injury ruled him out, and played in 252 of a possible 269 games since his debut.
The Magpies will need to determine who will lead the team for the game against the Eagles with vice-captains Steele Sidebottom and Taylor Adams the natural candidates.
They also have a range of midfield candidates to consider in place of Pendlebury.
Levi Greenwood is available after serving a one week suspension for his errant elbow on Essendon's Zach Merrett and could play a stopping role on Eagles playmaker Sam Mitchell.
Big-bodied midfielder Rupert Wills has been pushing for his first senior game with good showings in the VFL in the past three games, and Tom Phillips returned via VFL after spending several nights in hospital following the loss to Essendon.
Former Lion James Aish copped a head knock in the VFL and would need to be declared fit before even being considered, while Tim Broomhead will also be in calculations.