WEST Coast is unlikely to have superstar ruckman Nic Naitanui back this season, coach Adam Simpson says.

The Eagles had been hoping for Naitanui to make a late-season return, having undergone a traditional reconstruction after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last August.

Naitanui is due to fly to the US shortly to undertake high-intensity training but Simpson acknowledged the chances of him playing this year were slim.

"He's a small chance. It's getting smaller by the week," Simpson told Fox Sports News on Wednesday.

"He's going to travel overseas and do some intensive rehab, and that was always the plan.

"We were hoping to do that earlier in the year but at this stage it's getting pretty difficult.

"Once he gets back from overseas, we'll make a call on it but it's getting towards the end of the year and it's going to be pretty tough for him."

The 27-year-old Naitanui last week confirmed he would head to the US to train under the guidance of world-renowned sports injury expert Bill Knowles.

Naitanui's teammate Eric Mackenzie, Adelaide captain Taylor Walker, Geelong forward Daniel Menzel, GWS big man Jon Patton and young Demon Christian Petracca are among the AFL players to have visited Knowles' Philadelphia clinic in recent years.

The seventh-placed Eagles remain firmly in the hunt for a finals berth despite their patchy form, but Simpson said it would have no bearing on their plans for Naitanui.

"It's got nothing to do with finals," he said.

"If he's up and about and can make it towards the back half of the year, and he's available in the last three or four rounds, we'll go for it."