Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists the club isn’t hiding anything sinister in relation to Nat Fyfe’s latest injury setback.
Fyfe has been ruled out for the final two rounds of the AFL season after being grounded by inflammation in his left leg – a condition known as periostitis.
It follows on from a recent groin injury, and also a nasty cork he received on his right thigh from Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell in round 15.
Fyfe admitted the heavy cork he received changed his running style slightly, which in turn overloaded his groin.
Fremantle remain hopeful Fyfe will be fit to return for the start of the finals.
And Lyon was quick to downplay any fears the latest injury could be more serious than the club is letting on.
“We are certainly not hiding anything. If it was really significant, we’d let you know,” Lyon said on Friday.
“He’s obviously frustrated, because he loves playing footy.
“We’ll see him in really great shape for the first final as it stands today, barring any mishaps.
“He’s an incredible athlete. He’s done an incredible amount of work.
“So we’re really confident.
“He plays such a physical game, so hopefully any bumps or bruises he may be carrying disappear (in time for the finals).”
Skipper Matthew Pavlich (Achilles) passed a fitness test on Friday and will return against the Demons in Sunday’s clash at Domain Stadium.
But swingman Alex Pearce was dropped after managing just three goals in the past four games.
Ed Langdon, the No.54 pick in last year’s national draft, has been named for his debut after producing a series of strong efforts in the WAFL.
Clancee Pearce was handed a recall, but goalsneak Hayden Crozier was dropped.
The Demons brought in Neville Jetta, Matt Jones, Jake Spencer, and Oscar McDonald to replace Angus Brayshaw (rested), Heritier Lumumba (ankle), Chris Dawes (ankle), and James Harmes (omitted).
McDonald, a tall defender who was taken one pick before Langdon in last year’s draft, will also make his debut.
Fyfe’s leg work will be lightened off dramatically over the next fortnight to help reduce the inflammation that has flared up.
Lyon backed the 23-year-old to fire for the finals, saying Fyfe had a history of rebounding strongly after injury.