ST KILDA key forward Paddy McCartin could miss just one AFL game after scans cleared him of more serious knee damage.
He will be among at least three Saints changes for their Friday night clash against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
The Saints have also lost Nathan Wright to a shoulder injury and coach Alan Richardson confirmed on Thursday morning that Jack Steele will be dropped.
Veteran Nick Riewoldt will return from two games out with a knee injury.
Richardson said there had been concerns that McCartin had more serious bone damage, but the scan results were better than expected.
“It’s disappointing for Paddy – at one stage yesterday it looked like a chance to be something quite sinister,” Richardson said.
“But that scans have come back relatively positive, so we’re optimistic now that it might only be the week.
“He’s had an issue with the bone in his leg, just below the knee – the early diagnosis was that he had a bit of a stress reaction there.
“There’s obviously still some bruising there and we think that will settle down pretty quickly.”
Key defender Jake Carlisle could be a late withdrawal after he suffered a knock against Adelaide, but Richardson thinks he will play.
“Jake’s had a week where he’s had to get himself right,” Richardson said.
“But we’re pretty optimistic, still, that he’ll come up.”
The Saints have lost their past three matches and their season is teetering at 5-6.
Young defender Hugh Goddard is nursing a foot injury and Nathan Wright is out of action after hurting his shoulder against the Crows.
Melbourne could regain Max Gawn for Sunday’s match against the Western Bulldogs.
A hamstring injury has sidelined the All-Australian ruckman since round three.
The Demons are entering a tough run, with three successive six-day breaks, and that could affect when they recall Gawn.
“He had a really strong training session (on Tuesday),” Demons coach Simon Goodwin said.
“We have a whole range of situations we might be able to work through over the next three weeks, but the sooner we get him back out there, the better.”
The Bulldogs could recall premiership midfielder Tom Liberatore, who has missed their past three games because of form.
© AAP 2017