Fremantle defender Michael Johnson has lost his battle to play again this year, but the Dockers hope the 31-year-old will be able to hit the ground running over summer.
Johnson hasn’t played since damaging his hamstring and knee in the round-five loss to Carlton.
The Dockers were optimistic Johnson would be able to return for the final few rounds of the AFL season.
But those plans have been put to bed after Johnson injured his achilles tendon at training two weeks ago.
“He was right on track two weeks ago, and he was training,” Dockers coach Ross Lyon said.
“He was just a bit sore in his achilles.
“There’s nothing wrong with the tendon. It’s just a bit of a sheath issue. It means he’s been interrupted enough now that he won’t get to the line this year.
“By the time he gets moving, he’ll just roll into summer. It’s disappointing for Michael and us.”
In some better news for the Dockers, young midfielder Harley Balic is set to play his first game of the season when he lines up in the WAFL next week.
Balic, the No.38 pick from last year’s draft, has been grounded all season after undergoing wrist surgery.
But the 19-year-old is back in training and ready to play after this week’s bye.
“There hasn’t been a lot of things to smile about this year,” Lyon said.
“But to see him training last week … he’s a big athlete. He’s put on six kilos since he’s been here.
“He’s got speed, endurance. We’ve got to work out with Cam Shepherd (Peel coach) where he plays – whether it’s Peel Thunder seconds or seniors.
“I think he’s got enough quality – he won’t come back to 100 minutes. But if he can play 60, 80 minutes, I think it would be a win for everyone.”
The Dockers take on Adelaide at Domain Stadium on Sunday.