St Kilda key defender Dougal Howard is set to be sidelined for more than a month following a hamstring injury he sustained in Sunday's Community Series game against North Melbourne.

Limping from the field during the last quarter, scans revealed a significant strain in Howard's hamstring, an "unlucky blow" the club didn't need on the eve of the season.

Utility Zaine Cordy could come into the mix to replace the former Port Adelaide player, while Josh Battle may be ready in time.

Executive General Manager of Football David Mission expressed his empathy for Howard but is confident he can still make an impact.

“Dougal has been dealt an unlucky blow, especially so close to the start of the season,” Misson said.

“Despite the setback, we're confident Dougal will approach his rehab diligently and will make himself available at the earliest opportunity."

Young gun Mattaes Phillipou is in a race against the clock to be fit in time for their Round 1 clash with Geelong.

Phillipou was pulled from the ground with hip soreness and will undergo further treatment to ensure he's ready to go in less than two weeks.

St Kilda Saint Mattaes Phillipou (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Reigning best-and-fairest winner Jack Sinclair is also under an injury cloud, having nursed his calf complaint recently, while Marcus Windhager (hand) will need to pass fitness tests to be deemed fit for Round 1.

“Jack and Marcus are progressing well in their rehabilitations and we are pleased with their progress to-date,” Misson said.

“Jack received a positive result from a follow-up scan last week and will look to reintegrate to the main program this week.

“Marcus' injury is healing well and we are hopeful he will be in the mix for selection in Round 1.”

Similarly, Zak Jones (concussion) and Battle (knee) need to do everything right from here on in to be made available for selection.

The Saints are eyeing their season opener down at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday, March 16.