Dogs upbeat Wood will return in AFL finals

Western Bulldogs stand-in skipper Easton Wood could return in the AFL finals after scans delivered some overdue good news at Whitten Oval.

Wood landed awkwardly on his left leg during the third quarter of the Bulldogs’ win over Essendon on Sunday.

The club initially feared it was a serious ankle injury that would sideline Wood for the Bulldogs’ entire finals campaign.

They were far more upbeat on Monday afternoon, with football manager Graham Lowe suggesting the 26-year-old could be back on the park soon.

“Woody had scans this morning, and the good news is there is no bone damage but he does have a medial ligament injury,” Lowe told the club website.

“He’s going to be in a CAM boot for the next seven to 10 days.

“Once his CAM boot is removed, then we’ll determine his return to play.

“But we’re optimistic that he can play a part in our finals series.”

Coach Luke Beveridge confirmed on Sunday the Dogs would rotate the captaincy in Wood’s absence.

Marcus Bontempelli is expected to lead the seventh-placed side against Fremantle on Sunday.

The end-of-season bye could be a godsend for the Dogs, giving Wood and star midfielders Tom Liberatore and Jack Macrae another week to recover from injury.

Veteran Dale Morris, who’s been nursing a back-related hamstring niggle in recent weeks, has been declared fully fit.

He’s set to be recalled for the Bulldogs’ final regular-season game, strengthening their inexperienced defence against the Dockers.

“He’s trained and prepared really well over the last couple of weeks,” Lowe said.

Rebounding defender Matt Suckling, who’s nursing an achilles injury, could also make the trip to Perth.

“Matty’s got to get through this week in terms of training and preparation,” Lowe said.

“If he ticks those boxes, he’ll be available for selection.”

Captain Bob Murphy headlines a list of Bulldogs who will take no further part in the 2016 season.

But Tom Campbell, Bailey Williams and Mitch Honeychurch returned from injury in the VFL at the weekend and got through the game unscathed.

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