North Melbourne coach Brad Scott faces a welcome headache as he ponders how best to bring a host of players back from injury but admits there’s no timeline for Jarrad Waite’s return.
Scott told reporters on Wednesday it was too early to tell whether the veteran forward would play any part in the finals.
Hampered by a hip injury over the past two months, Waite was scheduled for exploratory surgery this week after he was unable to play out the Kangaroos’ 23-point win over St Kilda on Saturday night.
“We tried to treat things conservatively (without surgery) – the scans looked pretty good – but clearly there’s something going on that we can’t see on the scans,” Scott said.
“So hopefully minor arthroscopic surgery will reveal the extent of any problem.
“(But) that being said, symptomatically we still expect him to make a pretty quick recovery unless there’s something we certainly didn’t expect.
“I’m not going to speculate on it because I’d just be guessing. We’ll just wait and see how he recovers and what the surgeon’s report is.”
North take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium this Saturday night, with athletic forward-ruckman Majak Daw the front runner to replace Waite.
The Roos have fallen from first to eighth over the past two months with injuries hitting hard.
But their injury list is expected to shorten significantly over the next fortnight with Shaun Higgins (knee), Luke McDonald (hamstring), Taylor Garner (knee/hamstring), Kayne Turner (hamstring) and Sam Wright (ankle) among the players slated to return.
Scott admitted it will be a tricky task to add players to his side who haven’t played a great deal of football so close to a finals campaign.
“It will be a challenge because there’s every chance they’re all ready at the same time,” he said.
“But training is the key. We’ll get guys back into full training and then we can make an assessment.
“Once we get some good evidence from training we’ll move a few guys through the VFL and some may be ready to come straight back into the senior side.
“But no doubt we’ll have to look at staggering some of that.”