Melbourne are confident superstar midfielder Clayton Oliver will face Carlton this week, with the four-time best and fairest winner in line to play his first game since Round 10 due to ongoing hamstring setbacks.
Oliver has battled with a hamstring strain, as well as an infected foot since he last played against Port Adelaide in mid-May in what was been a frustrating period for the Demons ace and the club.
After a highly-documented recovery path, Oliver is now set to make his return from injury - assuming he gets through Melbourne's main session this week.
“Pleasingly he's right to go this week, now we've still got a few training sessions but our expectation is that Claz will play,” Richardson said in a club update.
“It's been frustrating for him and probably frustrating for our fans that he hasn't been out there sooner. It was a challenging injury and we had to make sure that we treated it with the respect that that sort of injury requires.
“It's good the team have been able to keep performing well in his absence because he's such a good player. It's great to have him back and we're going to have a fresh Clayton Oliver leading into the finals, which is exciting.”
Contrastingly, defender-turned-forward Harrison Petty will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a Lisfranc injury in his foot.
Petty sustained the setback in Sunday's win over North Melbourne, with the setback coming at a time when the South Australian was beginning to show his nous as a forward target, booting eight goals from his two most recent performances.
Richardson said it was a devastating blow for Petty, who will now turn his attention to Round 1 of next season.
“Petts has significant damage to his Lisfranc which is which means he won't play again this year,” Richardson said.
“It's a fairly significant rehab, but we're really confident long term that he'll be fine.
“It's disappointing for the team, disappointing for the club given where we are at with the stage of the season, but look he'll be a real pro with his rehab like he always is. He'll get all the support he needs from the footy club."
In mixed news, veteran Tom McDonald will make his return from an ankle injury that has kept him sidelined for an extended period of time, while fellow forward Ben Brown won't play at the state league level on the weekend due to a knee issue.
Grundy hasn't played at senior level the past month as he looks to improve his ability as a tall forward option that can support multiple roles in Melbourne's side.
Star forward Bayley Fritsch (foot) remains a chance to make his return during the home and away season, with a best-case scenario comeback for the premiership attacker listed as Round 24.
McDonald could also help with the selection dilemma in the coming weeks following his VFL return. The Demons may also have first-year defender Kye Turner available for selection in the VFL for Casey this weekend as he overcomes a groin issue.