Skipper Dyson Heppell is a 50-50 chance to play in Essendon’s round three match against St Kilda this week.
A late withdrawal ahead of the Bombers’ loss to the Power, Heppell will look to return for the Saturday clash at Marvel Stadium after succumbing to a back spasm during Essendon’s last main training session.
Head of high performance Sean Murphy said the Bombers were hopeful the 28-year-old could overcome his back hindrance to return to the starting line-up.
“(It was) unlucky for ‘Hepp’ (Heppell). He had a bit of a back spasm in our last session of the week,” Murphy told Dons Digital’s Performance Update.
“We thought we’d be able to try and get him through and give him a couple of days to settle and unfortunately it didn’t occur, and we had to pull him out of the game.
“We’ll look to get him going (but) he is still sort of touch and go for this week, and we’ll work our way through that process.”
The inclusion of the Bombers’ captain would be a welcome relief for the red and black, following significant injuries to Sam Draper, Jye Caldwell and Dylan Shiel in round two’s clash against the Power.
Murphy said all three players would likely miss large amounts of games and face thorough rehabilitation processes.
“(It’s) unfortunate for those three lads to sustain those injuries this early in the season and they’ll miss a bit of footy now,” Murphy said.
“Draper, he had a scan and it was confirmed (to be) a syndesmosis injury and he’ll undergo surgery in the next couple of days to repair that.
“Jye Caldwell, unfortunately he sustained that hamstring injury. It’s a little bit worse than what we would’ve hoped and we’re looking at a six to eight-week injury.
“Dylan Shiel is the other one. He had that incident in the fourth quarter, and unfortunately he’ll need to have an arthroscope on that knee to clean out the meniscus and repair it. He’ll start (surgery) in the next day or so and we’ll start that process to get him going.”
In more positive news for the Dons, midfielder Matt Guelfi looms as a selection option for senior coach Ben Rutten after impressing in the VFL Bombers’ practice match against Footscray.
“’Guelf’ had a really good output in the game,” Murphy said.
“He had good intensity, good run and brought what he always brings to the game at that level and he’s a hopeful (to play) this week.”
Murphy also touched on the performances of Jake Stringer and David Zaharakis in Saturday’s VFL practice match, as well as highlighting strong showings from Zach Merrett and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti in the senior side’s round two fixture.
Watch the round three Performance Update below.