Bulldog Bailey Smith is a chance to return this week for Saturday afternoon's clash against Hawthorn, having missed two games with a calf complaint.

The 22-year-old is close to making his awaited return, with the club confirming Smith needs to get through training this week to be available for selection.

Bulldogs' Head of Sports Medicine, Chris Bell, said to club media that the young Dog had already completed a "game like rehab session" and expected him to get though his return to full training.

“Bailey didn't play on the weekend to allow us to carefully rebuild his loads and get some continuity in his training,” Bell said.

“In some good news, he successfully completed a game like rehab session on Friday.

“He will return to a full training model, and if he gets through like I expect, he will return to availability.”

Smith's potential return has been dampened by the loss of Tom Liberatore though, who has been ruled out due to concussion.

The Dogs confirmed that Liberatore had received a head knock during the win over Fremantle and had suffered a concussion.

“In the last quarter of the game against Fremantle, ‘Libba' received a head knock in a contest,” Bell said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Tom Liberatore of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Round 02 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on March 24, 2022 In Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“He had very discrete signs that he wasn't 100%, so he was ruled out of the game. Testing post-game confirmed that he suffered a low-level concussion.

“He won't play this weekend, and will work with our doctors to determine his return to play plan.”

Elsewhere at the Kennel, Laitham Vandermeer is facing more time on the sidelines after a short-lived return from a fractured leg, suffering rib damage in the VFL. Scans confirmed that Vandermeer won't require surgery, but the 24-year-old will now be sidelined again for a "couple of weeks".

“During the third quarter, Laitham received a hit to his chest wall in a tackle and had some severe pain,” Bell said.

“Scans have confirmed that he has some rib damage.  This injury won't require surgery, but Laitham will be sidelined again for a couple of weeks.”

The Bulldogs face Hawthorn in Round 7, scheduled for Saturday, 4:35pm AEST at Marvel Stadium.