A clearer extent of Nic Naitanui's expected absence with an Achilles injury is set to be confined by West Coast in the coming days, however, the 32-year-old won't require surgery.
Naitanui has battled the ailment across the later months of the pre-season and into the opening rounds of the Eagles' home and away campaign, with the ruckman set to miss the coming weeks after again not being named for Adam Simpson's side to face cross-town rivals Fremantle on Sunday.
The ongoing issue has compounded the club's frustrations after fringe tall Bailey Williams was required to take the brunt of the workload in the opening two rounds of the season.
The Eagles are set to call on a secondary ruck option as they attempt to tame the Dockers' duo of Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson, however, Simpson has kept his cards close to his chest ahead of the weekend.
The West Coast coach has revealed that an update on Naiatanui's health is incoming however, with a meeting among club officials set to help the Eagles better understand how far away the triple All-Australian is from returning.
While not ruling out the chance Naitanui returns in 2023, Simpson told media on Friday that his senior ruckman is still facing multiple weeks on the sidelines.
"We've got a meeting this morning, but I don't think surgery is part of the conversation," Simpson said.
"I think he will play this year, but I can't comment until I get the full details.
"We will release something when the time is right, but he won't be playing for a few weeks."
After claiming a buffer of 17 hit-outs in Round 1 over North Melbourne, who lost tall Tristan Xerri to injury early into the encounter, the Eagles lost the count last week to an in-form Giant in Mathew Flynn.
Their challenge for this week looms as a significant one for Bailey in the middle, with Fremantle's fierce ruck tandem looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening fortnight to start the year.
"It's probably the biggest challenge in the AFL," Simpson said of facing the pairing of Darcy and Jackson.
"They're number one in the hit-outs and I'm pretty sure we're not number one or in the top four.
"It's how we handle it. I thought last week we handled it pretty well, albeit the Giants had a young ruckman and a second-stringer that was probably a bit like ours. It's a bit different this week though.
"It's something we've got to deal with while Nic's not available and we've got some young blokes coming through."
West Coast could go unchanged for Sunday's Western Derby and may look toward sharpshooter Jake Waterman to alleviate the ruck workload for Williams for the second week in a row.
Key defender Harry Edwards is in the mix to return to Simpson's side and may be a better option to support the ruck workload, potentially freeing Waterman to play a full game in attack after booting four goals in the win over the Giants.
West Coast will confirm their interchange and emergencies at 5:00pm (AEDT) on Friday, while their tactical sub will be announced one hour before Sunday's bounce.