The Western Bulldogs could be without veteran defender Liam Jones for up to a month as he deals with a knee injury.

Jones did not play over the weekend against Port Adelaide due to soreness, with scans since discovering damage to his medial ligament.

The injury will rule Jones out for a fortnight at the very least, with further assessment of the ailment to come.

“In the last few minutes of the Round 16 game against North, Liam Jones was involved in an aerial contest and landed heavily,” Western Bulldogs medicine boss Chris Bell said in a club update.

“The mechanism of this landing has damaged the medial ligament in his knee and scans have confirmed a moderate grade ligament injury.

“Once we get an idea of how fast the ligament is healing over the next 10 days, we will be more accurate with his return to play timeline.”

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Liam Jones of the Bulldogs in action during the 2023 AFL Round 11 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Western Bulldogs at TIO Stadium on May 27, 2023 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The loss of Jones could be alleviated by Alex Keath's potential return from a hamstring injury, with the tall backman to be joined by recently sidelined small forward Cody Weightman (groin) in needing to prove his fitness to be selected for Round 18.

Keath has lifted his workloads over the past week to have himself in a position to face Carlton, while Weightman is in the selection mix after being ruled out of the weeken's trip to face the Power.

Alex Keath successfully completed a game-like training session on the weekend,” Bell said.

“He is planned to fully train this week, and if he gets through like I expect, his magnet will return to the whiteboard for selection.

“Although he came through the Round 16 game well, in the days following the game, Cody Weightman had some persisting groin soreness.

“Not wanting to take any risks with Cody, he didn't play on the weekend.

“We will work through a process this week to make sure that he is 100% fit before we consider if he returns to play this weekend.”

Aaron Naughton during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

The club has also confirmed key position pair Aaron Naughton and James O'Donnell have entered concussion protocols and will miss at least this weekend's match against the Blues.

Unfortuantely, defender Jason Johannisen is facing a delayed return from a calf injury after experiencing tightness in recent days.

The setback, which will rule Johannisen out of playing for up to seven weeks, comes as duo James Harmes and Kelsey Rypstra deal with hamstring injuries that will keep them from the field for up to a month.

Jason Johannisen was also on track to return to full training an availability this week,” Bell said.

“He has been incredibly diligent since suffering a frustrating hamstring injury when he slipped and over stretched his hamstring during a training incident.

“Unfortunately, Jason has suffered some recurrent tightness in his calf during a return to play training session.

“We will work with JJ to devise a plan that gets him back playing towards the back end of the home and away season.”

Kelsey Rypstra and James Harmes had some hamstring tightness off the back of the game last week.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs kicks during the round one AFL match between Melbourne Demons and Western Bulldogs at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on March 17, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“Kelsey is new into our program and Harmes damaged his hamstring earlier this season.

“It is important that we focus on building some continuity for both players.

“At this stage we have plans in place that will get them back to availability in the next month.”

The Dogs have also confirmed young tall Jordan Croft is between six and eight weeks away from returning from a thigh injury.

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