Injured Collingwood star Adam Treloar is aiming to return midway through the club's finals campaign, according to Pies coach Nathan Buckley.
The gun midfielder tore both hamstrings against the Blues in round 14, including tendon damage to his left hamstring and a strain to his right hamstring.
After undergoing successful surgery, the 25-year old recently ramped up his rehab efforts by training with the VFL side on Thursday.
But Buckley conceded that Treloar still faces an uphill battle to prove his fitness.
"He's still got some sessions to go," Buckley told reporters on Thursday.
"He's obviously not playing this week, and even the first final might be a stretch, but there's still a couple of weeks to go before then.
"I'm sure he'll be pretty keen to prove his fitness as early as possible, but he's got a few hurdles to come yet."
A win over the Dockers at Optus Stadium this Saturday would secure Collingwood's position in the top four, with the double chance aiding Treloar's prospects of returning.
High-flyer Jeremy Howe will also miss this weekend's clash with Fremantle due to a badly corked thigh, but Buckley expected him to return for their first final
"He (Howe) should be right to go," Buckley said.
"We thought he'd be right three weeks ago, though. But post-surgery, it's come along really well.
"For us to want to go and operate on a perfectly healthy thigh, apart from the cork, it shows you where we'd got to with that.
"The doctor worked through plenty of normal possibilities and it hadn't responded normally, but post-surgery he's come along really well."
Additionally, veteran defender Tyson Goldsack will make his sensational return through the VFL side this weekend after suffering a back complaint during his ACL rehab.