Gary Ablett’s much-anticipated return from a shoulder injury has been put off for at least another week, with the Gold Coast superstar not named for Sunday’s clash with Carlton.
Ablett has been sorely missed by the Suns since he succumbed to a nagging shoulder complaint after round two this season, but as recently as Wednesday coach Rodney Eade had expressed confidence the 31-year-old would return against the Blues.
However, the dual Brownlow medallist didn’t appear in an extended squad on Thursday night.
“We were hopeful that Gary would be available for selection, however it was determined that Gary wasn’t ready to return this weekend,” Suns football manager Marcus Ashcroft told the club’s website.
David Swallow (knee) and Rory Thompson (hip) had also been in the mix to return from injury, but won’t make the trip south for Sunday’s clash at Etihad Stadium.
The news wasn’t all bad for the Suns, who regained important defender Steven May (groin) and talented midfielder Harley Bennell (calf) from injury, with Sam Day, Alex Sexton and Matt Shaw also named in the 25-man squad.
Carlton were bolstered by the return of full-back Michael Jamison from a calf injury, but lost Bryce Gibbs to a two-match suspension and Andrew Walker to a knee injury.
David Ellard, Jason Tutt, Blaine Boekhorst and Nick Holman were also included in the squad that will be trimmed by three players on Friday.
Elsewhere, Sydney lost ruckman Mike Pyke to a knee injury as they prepare to host Richmond at the SCG on Friday night.
Former Tiger big man Tom Derickx gets a crack at his old side, who regained former skipper Chris Newman from a groin injury that has kept him out since round six.
Damien Hardwick dropped Steve Morris and Connor Menadue and lost Corey Ellis to a hip injury, with Nathan Gordon and Kane Lambert brought in to replace them.
Premiership defender Grant Birchall is back for Hawthorn after overcoming an ankle injury that has sidelined him since round eight, with Ryan Schoenmakers omitted from the side to take on Essendon at the MCG on Saturday.
Jason Winderlich will play his first game of the season after overcoming a back injury, with the Bombers elevating former Adelaide ruckman Shaun McKernan off the rookie list as one of five changes.
Travis Colyer is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury, while Paul Chapman has succumbed to a groin injury.
Brisbane have recalled Ryan Harwood, James Aish and Harris Andrews for their home encounter with Adelaide and the Crows have stuck with the same 22 that went down to the Hawks last week.
Veteran St Kilda defender Sam Fisher has recovered from a hamstring injury and returns to face the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Elevated rookie Adam Schneider and Dylan Roberton are also back in the team, while the Bulldogs regain Dale Morris from the arm injury he suffered in round three.