Versatile youngster Nik Cox faces a race against the clock to face Hawthorn on Saturday night, while Devon Smith will miss the next two to four weeks with a knee setback.

Cox was subbed out of Sunday’s loss to the Bulldogs with an ankle injury, but will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness for the round eight clash at Marvel Stadium.

“'Coxy' jarred that ankle in the second quarter. It’s the same side he had previously, but a different feeling in the ankle,” head of high performance Sean Murphy said on the Liberty Financial Performance Update.

“He’s a little bit sore today (Tuesday), but it settled pretty well. He’ll be a genuine test for this week … we’ll give him every chance to be available.”

Nik Cox tests his ankle before being subbed out against the Bulldogs. (Photo: AFL Photos)

Devon Smith missed Sunday’s VFL match against Footscray, while Aaron Francis (illness) and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (AFL health and safety protocols) are also expected to return to training this week after missing the same match.

“Dev has had some knee pain and swelling. It’s something he’s been dealing with since he had his PCL surgery,” Murphy said.

“He’s not feeling quite right to get out there and perform, so we’re going to give him a couple of weeks to settle that down and then build him back up again. We probably won’t see him for the next couple of weeks though.”

As reported on Tuesday, Jake Stringer was another casualty to emerge out of the Bombers’ defeat to the Bulldogs.

Murphy said the star forward’s hamstring injury was not related to the previous one he suffered in round three.

“Stringer presented today (Tuesday) with hamstring tightness on the other side to the previous hamstring injury he came back from a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

“Unfortunately an MRI has shown a low-grade strain there, so we’re going to have to work through that. We’ve got the bye coming up (round 12), and whether we see him before that, we’ll work that out over the next couple of days.”

Talented youngster Harrison Jones is another forward the Bombers could regain before the bye, but Murphy said a cautious approach would be taken with the 21-year-old.

“'Jonesy' had that incident against Port Melbourne where he tweaked that ankle again. It took a little while to settle down, longer than we would have liked, so we’ve put him in a block where we feel we need to get some more chronic load into his body,” he said.

“He’s missed so much (footy), so we want to be cautious with him and make sure we’re getting good loads into him so that we’re having a good result once he gets back playing.

“Over the next two weeks, we’re going to get that chronic load up and get the volume in through training and match simulation on weekends, and then hopefully we’ll see him in a few weeks.”

While his recovery from a long-term hamstring injury is on track, midfielder Kyle Langford won’t be available before the round 12 bye.

“'Langers’ is going well. He’s about seven weeks into that rehab process after surgery. He’s progressing really well and getting some volume running in. He’s started his strength work, but we won’t see him before the bye,” Murphy said.

Murphy also touched on Tex Wanganeen (ankle) and Andrew Phillips (hamstring), who face fitness tests this week, while highlighting two defenders and an in-form forward who were shining lights in the defeat to the Bulldogs.

Watch the round eight Liberty Financial Performance Update below.

04:05 Mins
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Rd 8 | Performance update

Head of high performance Sean Murphy provides a performance update ahead of our round eight clash against the Hawks.

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Player Injury Duration
Nik Cox Ankle Test
Tex Wanganeen Ankle Test
Andrew Phillips Hamstring Test
James Stewart Calf Short term
Devon Smith Knee Short term
Harrison Jones Ankle Short term
Jake Stringer Hamstring Short term
Will Snelling Calf Medium term
Patrick Voss Foot Medium term
Kyle Langford Hamstring Medium term
Michael Hurley Hip Indefinite
Updated May 4, 2022