An unfortunate gym mishap for Sam Gibson aside, the injury outlook at North Melbourne continues to improve ahead of a pivotal fortnight for the Kangaroos.
Gibson is in doubt for Saturday’s clash against Sydney after suffering a broken nose but the Roos could regain Scott Thompson, Ben Brown, Ben Jacobs, Sam Wright and even long-term absentee Shaun Higgins for the Hobart encounter.
The eighth-placed Kangaroos need all the help they can get as look to stave off a late challenge from ninth-placed Melbourne with wins against the Swans and then Greater Western Sydney.
Roos coach Brad Scott told reporters on Wednesday Gibson sustained a broken nose and a nasty gash to his face after he slipped and dropped a barbell on his head on Tuesday morning.
“He’s not ok, he’s pretty sore at the moment,” Scott said.
“He was sent to hospital just to rule out any other facial fractures, which he’s clear of.
“He’s a bit uncomfortable but we’re still really optimistic he’ll be available to play this week.”
Gibson has played the past 105 games without a break – the longest active streak in the AFL.
Higgins hasn’t played at any level since knee surgery after round seven but Scott is confident the veteran is capable of slotting straight back into the senior side without a stint in the VFL.
In further good news for North, key forward Jarrad Waite is making better than expected progress in his recovery from hip surgery a fortnight ago and is a chance to return against the Giants at Etihad Stadium in round 23.
The Demons can snatch eighth place from the Roos if they win their last two games – against Carlton and Geelong – and North lose against Sydney and GWS.
But Scott is intent on improving his club’s position in the eight rather than holding off Paul Roos’ emerging side.
“We’re not happy to finish eighth,” he said.
“Once round 23 is done there’s a week off before eight clubs get to launch an assault on the finals, that’s what we’re looking at but we’re going to have to play some pretty good footy in the next two weeks to get that opportunity.
“Our view is that we’re looking to play our best footy to make an impact in September – it’s not about just getting there.”
Scott dismissed suggestions a decision on the playing future of AFL games record holder Brent Harvey would be made at a scheduled board meeting on Wednesday night, adding all personnel moves will be left until the end of the Roos’ 2016 campaign.