Carlton skipper Marc Murphy is still up to three weeks away from making his AFL return from an ankle injury.
Murphy strained ligaments in his right ankle early in the Blues’ round-10 upset over Geelong and was still sporting a protective moon boot on Wednesday at training.
“Hopefully, in the next two to three weeks,” coach Brendon Bolton said of Murphy’s return date.
“So he’s progressing well. We’d love to have our skipper back, but what I will say about Murph is that, while he hasn’t been playing and leading on the field, he is doing a terrific job in investing in our youngsters.
“We’re really hopeful that in the next couple of weeks, he can be on top of it … (but) we won’t put Murph at risk.”
The news is better for highly rated youngsters Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow.
Bolton confirmed the first-year players would return this weekend from long-term issues – a back injury and glandular fever respectively – in the VFL or VFL reserves.
After their bye, the Blues resume against Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium on Saturday in what will be Bryce Gibbs’ 200th AFL match.
“I think he’s the 35th player at Carlton to play 200 games,” Bolton said.
“This year, he’s really grown in his leadership on and off the field and his performances have been as good as ever.
“We’re hoping for another good game from Bryce … it’s something that he and his family should be very proud of.”