Carlton defender Jacob Weitering is expected to miss the Blues' opening two games of the 2024 season, with an early bye set to factor in the reigning best and first winner's return.

Weitering suffered a high-grade calf strain last month and has been listed as doubtful for the Blues' Opening Round trip to face Brisbane in early March.

Round 1 bout with Richmond was seen as a potential return date for the 26-year-old, however Weitering is now set to miss his side's opening two matches.

According to 7 News' Kate Massey, Weitering has been ruled out of action until Round 3.

Carlton are scheduled for a bye in Round 2 to make up for their Opening Round appearance, meaning a meeting the week after against North Melbourne on Good Friday now looms likely.

The star defender's absence will see Weitering miss matchups against Lions forward pair Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood as well as a potential clash against Richmond spearhead Tom Lynch.

Lynch himself is no certainty of playing Round 1, having been ruled out of his own Opening Round encounter against Gold Coast.

While the Blues won't have Weiteirng at their disposal until the end of March, the club could have defender Zac Williams back on the field to start their new campaign.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Jacob Weitering of the Blues runs the ball during the round 11 AFL match between Sydney Swans and Carlton Blues at Sydney Cricket Ground, on May 26, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Williams missed the entire 2023 season with an ACL injury sustained over 12 months ago, with the former Giant lifting his training workloads since the new year started.

Carlton's Opening Round trip to the Gabba is scheduled for Friday, March 8, with a return to the MCG coming the following Thursday against Richmond.