Geelong star Jimmy Bartel will miss the Cats’ clash with Melbourne on Sunday, when Corey Enright plays his 300th AFL match.
Bartel has been on the sidelines since round three due to a knee injury, but the 2007 Brownlow medallist was hopeful of returning for Enright’s milestone game.
However, Cats coach Chris Scott confirmed on Thursday that Bartel and Mitch Clark (calf) would remain on the sidelines until after the club’s bye in round 13.
Ruckman Rhys Stanley (foot) and veteran James Kelly (ankle) will be two omissions from the 22 that defeated Port Adelaide by 23 points.
Scott is still unsure how long the pair will be out for, with Stanley’s foot ills causing particular trouble.
“There’s a few opinions out there that are a little bit different,” Scott said.
“Fortunately we’ve got the bye next week so that gives us a little bit more room, but the jury’s still out.
“The worst case scenario that I’ve heard isn’t too bad.”
Kelly’s first-quarter substitution last weekend against Port Adelaide caused consternation but the Cats are hoping to lose him for just a fortnight.
“You don’t know until the latter stages of the rehab,” Scott said.
“The early signs are good, but they’re not the most important.”
With Bartel, the Cats are taking a conservative approach after the 31-year-old’s two months on the sidelines.
While Bartel declared his desire to play in the 300th game of fellow triple premier Enright, his return will be pushed back to early July after Geelong’s bye.
Scott said Bartel’s comeback could occur at Casey Fields for the Cats’ VFL side and not at Adelaide Oval in round 14.
“We’re open to all options,” Scott said.
We’ve got a plan privately that we think is most likely but we’re not absolutely wedded to it.”
Billie Smedts (collarbone) and Dawson Simpson (shoulder) will make returns from injury in the reserves against Coburg on Saturday.