MELBOURNE will be without co-captain Nathan Jones until the back end of the season after he was ruled out with a strained quad for the next 4-6 weeks. 

The skipper hurt his leg during the Demons' win against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday and scans found he had strained his rectus femoris, one of the leg's four quad muscles.

Melbourne's head of conditioning, David Misson, said the club would be cautious with the 29-year-old.  

"We just want to be pretty cautious with that," Misson told

"They can sometimes be a tough injury to rehab. We really want Nathan at the back end of the season."

Jones has been remarkably durable, missing just five of a possible 240 games since making his debut in round 17, 2006. 

However, it was not all bad news for the Demons, with the club hopeful in-form forward Jack Watts will travel to Perth to play West Coast despite sitting out the end of Sunday's game with hamstring tightness.

Watts will need to get through training on Thursday to make the trip but Misson was optimistic he would.

Defenders Jayden Hunt (shoulder) and Neville Jetta (ankle) have also been cleared to play after they laboured at times during the win over the Bulldogs.

A cloud remains over in-form defender Michael Hibberd, who pulled up sore after the game. Misson made no mention of him.

He did confirm that ruckman Max Gawn would return against West Coast after being sidelined since round three with a hamstring injury.

Gawn was close to returning against the Bulldogs but the club decided it would be prudent to give the ruckman, who has recovered from two knee reconstructions, an extra week of recovery.