Bomber Harrison Jones' season is said to be over as Essendon look to nurture their young forward amid ongoing injury battles, while in-form midfielder Dylan Shiel is seen as no certainty to feature in Brad Scott's side this weekend.
The club has confirmed Shiel will be a test for this weekend's trip to Perth due to a calf issue that kept the former Giant out of last Saturday's Dreamtime win over Richmond.
Shiel was a late withdrawal from Scott's plans after failing a fitness test in the lead-up to the Round 10 encounter, with the midfielder set to face similar measures this week in the hope of being cleared to play.
"Dylan unfortunately didn't pass the fitness test last week," Bombers performance boss Daniel McPherson said in a club injury update.
"He's worked his way through training this week, so we're hopeful he'll be right, but he'll be a test again this week."
The club has also listed Jones (back), alongside first-year recruit Jayden Davey (knee), as being ruled out for the remainder of the year.
Jones experienced soreness in his back at training earlier this month before the club confirmed he'd be sidelined for an extended period, with the athletic forward's 2023 campaign coming to an abrupt end.
The 22-year-old has already dealt with ankle issues over the past 12 months as well as having a history of foot concerns that required surgery in 2021.
The decision to keep Jones off the field for the second half of the season could give the Bombers some flexibility in their list less than a week out from the Mid-Season Draft, with the club now eligible to move Jones to its inactive list.
That would allow the Bombers two selections at next Wednesday's count, with Davey having already been placed on the long-term injury list prior to this year.
In lighter news for the Bombers, young utility Nik Cox will play his first minutes of this season in the coming weekend through the VFL.
Cox has battled a back stress fracture that has kept him sidelined for the opening rounds of the 2023 season.
“Nik's passed all the relevant markers we need for him to play, so he'll return this weekend,” McPherson said.
“He'll be on managed minutes in this week's game, but we're thrilled to see him back out there.”
Defender Jayden Laverde is in the selection frame to face West Coast on Saturday after overcoming a shoulder injury, while the club is hoping to welcome back key forward Peter Wright in the next month following pre-season shoulder surgery.
Top draftee Elijah Tsatas could make his Bombers debut at either VFL or AFL level in the coming weeks as he nears the end of his rehabilitation from a knee injury sustained in the summer.
Essendon will remain without Darcy Parish (calf), Will Setterfield (foot) and Zach Reid (hamstring) for at least the next month.
The Bombers will be looking to add to last week's thrilling one-point win when they face the Eagles at Optus Stadium this Saturday night.