Essendon star Cale Hooker will need to overcome a hamstring injury if he is to face Hawthorn in their round one opener.
The 2014 All-Australian was rested for the club's intra-club match on Saturday, and has been training away from the main group in an effort to get himself fit for the Bombers' round one clash on March 25.
Essendon High Performance Manager Justin Crow said his modified program is aimed to get him fit by mid-March.
"Cale is going to be on a very individual program all the way up to round one, which is going to be a big priority in getting him to play there," he said.
"We’re going to be very selective in what he does and doesn’t do between now and then."
Fellow key position player Michael Hartley is also suffering hamstring problems, after he limped off during the intra-club match.
Scans have confirmed Hartley is suffering from an inflamed hamstring, but the 23-year-old will return to training within a fortnight.
"Fans who came to the game would have seen Michael limp off fairly early in the piece. We had him scanned – in his hamstring he’s got some minor fascial irritation that has shown up," Crow said.
Crow also said Joe Daniher will return to full training soon, while Tom Bellchambers is recovering well from his knee surgery.