Sydney midfielder Luke Parker may play again this season, but Swans coach John Longmire will adopt a no-risk attitude towards his superstar forward Lance Franklin.
Parker, who was stretchered off against Collingwood last Friday, was diagnosed with a broken right tibia and underwent an operation on Sunday to have a plate placed in the lower part of his leg.
Longmire initially feared Parker would miss the rest of the season, but said on Monday he could be back in four to five weeks.
That would rule him out of Sydney’s last three home-and-away games, but would give him some chance of playing again this year if the Swans progress in the finals.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Longmire said.
“It’s up to us as to whether he gets back, as far as how deep we go (into the finals).”
Longmire suggested if any Swan was capable of bouncing back quicker than expected from a serious injury it was 22-year-old Parker.
“His ability to be able to bounce back and his resilience is second to none,” Longmire said.
Franklin is one of several players whose fitness to play Greater Western Sydney next Saturday will depend on how they come through training on Thursday.
Also being monitored are defender Jeremy Laidler (hamstring), forward Isaac Heeney (general soreness), forward-midfielder Ben McGlynn (hamstring) and utility Gary Rohan (knee).
Franklin, who did some running on Monday without being at full pace, has missed three of Sydney’s last four games with a back issue.
The one match he did play during that period was against Adelaide when he was desperate to show his support for absent teammate Adam Goodes.
Longmire said afterwards Franklin probably shouldn’t have played in that game and on Monday stressed Sydney would take no more chances with the health of their leading goalkicker.
“We won’t be taking any risks with him, we need to make sure that he’s feeling really good on Thursday,” Longmire said.
“There’s not much room for error as far as if he gets injured again, so we need to be mindful of that. We need to be conservative as far as not pushing him if he’s not right.”
He said a scan on Laidler, who was substituted at halftime last Friday, revealed no tear in his hamstring.
Longmire was looking forward for the second-straight week to facing a team playing for their finals life.
“We expect a real battle, we know that will happen,” Longmire said.