Essendon coach Mark Thompson says veterans Dustin Fletcher and Paul Chapman could both be rested from this weekend's game against Fremantle at Patersons Stadium.
Thompson stated that the pair suffered some discomfort following the Bombers' thumping win over Carlton on Sunday night, and emphasised that as older players they needed to be carefully managed throughout the season.
"I think Dustin's pulled up a bit sore too, so he may not play at this stage, but it's only very early in the week so we'll have to wait and see," Thompson said on Tuesday.
"We don't know about [Fletcher], he's a bit like [Chapman], the older they get they've got the appetite to play, they never want to miss."
Having hurt his ankle slightly during the game, former Cat Chapman was "really sore" afterwards, according to Thompson.
"I think he hurt it twice during the game, early and at the end as well. You've just got to wait and see how he pulls up."
In further good news, Paddy Ryder could return from a week on the sidelines, but Thompson suggested a cautious approach would be taken with the ruckman and his troublesome ankle.
"It's round four, it's silly to take any risk. From our point of view we probably won't play guys who are sore, because they just can't play to their potential and then that just sort of lingers around for a few more weeks and affects that performance, too in those games," he said.
"This week we go up against [ruckman Aaron] Sandilands, so maybe if Paddy does play it's not going to make much difference," Thompson said facetiously.
The Dockers will be without forward Michael Walters who may require surgery after dislocating an ankle tendon.
Walters will definitely be unavailable for the Essendon game, and his longer-term fate will not be known until next week said Fremantle football operations manager Chris Bond.
"At this stage the medical advice is that we should wait a week to 10 days to allow the swelling in Michael’s ankle to subside before having further scans," Bond said in a club statement.
"After the surgeon has reviewed and reported on those scans next week, our medical team will be best placed to make a decision on whether or not surgery is required."
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR on Monday night that another Dockers forward in Chris Mayne was no certainty to play on Sunday either, as he too struggled to overcome an ankle injury.
The unfortunate Garrick Ibbotson, who missed all of last year's finals series through injury, is also set for further time on the sidelines having dislocated his shoulder in the Hawks clash.
The Dockers are already without key onball duo Nathan Fyfe (suspension) and Michael Barlow (knee).