MELBOURNE co-captain Jack Viney is a "week-to-week proposition" as he recovers from a foot injury, but the Demons are confident he will still play a role in their finals push.
Viney will miss Sunday's clash against the Brisbane Lions at the MCG after the bone towards his toes flared up, requiring a period of rest and time on crutches this week.
Coach Simon Goodwin said the important midfielder has been managing the issue for some time, and the club would assess him on Monday, hopeful he would be available for round 23.
"It's a really important time of the year, and when you've got one of your co-captains on crutches walking around during the week it's obviously a concern," Goodwin said on Friday.
"But we certainly feel that he's got some footy ahead of him. He recovers well, he heals well, and it's not a fracture or anything in his foot.
"So we're really positive about him playing some footy. If it's not next week, we'll see how we go for the rest of the year.
"It's a week-by-week thing. He's starting to heal and feel better, but we'll just see how he comes up on Monday and start progressing him from there."
Viney missed two matches with a foot injury in rounds 16 and 17 after undergoing surgery to release a plantar fascia injury, but Goodwin said his latest setback was not related.
While Viney is unavailable, key forward Jesse Hogan has been declared a certain starter and will return from a shoulder injury after missing just two matches.
"He's right to play. He's done an incredible amount of work in the last couple of weeks to get back with the medical team and the high-performance team," Goodwin said.
"He's had a great attitude … his last 10 days have been exceptional and he's really keen to play some good footy for the club this year."
Hogan has played eight games this season, spending time on the sidelines because of suspension, the passing of his father, a battle with testicular cancer, and a shoulder injury.
Goodwin said the young forward had never given up on playing at AFL level this season.
"He wants to play footy for the Melbourne footy club and he's come back from a few things during the year where he could have easily said 'I don't want to play for the rest of the year'," the coach said.
"But he's continued to find a way."
Goodwin said ruckman Max Gawn was clear on the ruck rules after the Demons sought clarification from umpires coach Hayden Kennedy this week.
Gawn was repeatedly penalised in the ruck against St Kilda for using a straight-arm block that prevented opponent Billy Longer from contesting.
"We definitely sought some clarification off Hayden during the week … (and) we've got a bit better education on what that looks like moving forward," Goodwin said.
"We're certainly working with Max to make sure that's a key element of his game.
"We're more than comfortable with how it's being umpired."