Carlton could welcome back key defender Jacob Weitering earlier than expected for Friday night's clash against St Kilda, according to senior coach Michael Voss.
Weitering hasn't run out in navy blue since Round 11, when he injured his AC joint against the Magpies, but has made a speedy recovery to find himself in the selection mix again.
The highly rated defender would be a welcome addition to the squad set to take on the Saints, with the Blues still dealing with a lengthy injury list as the club tries to secure a top four spot.
Voss spoke to media on Wednesday ahead of the Friday night affair, confirming that Weitering would put himself on the selection table if he managed to get through training without an issue, but it still appeared more likely that he will return the following week.
"We'll have a good look at him today. If he gets through well, then he'll be available. But it is still unlikely, still more realistic for next week. If it goes really, really well, he will be available," Voss said.
"The real clarity that we've given him is he has to be fit and available to be able to fully function. When he's gone away and had surgery and come back, you want to know that he's come back with full strength. That's all he needs to tick off for us to be right. I've purely left it in his court. If that's this week or next week, so be it."
While Weitering's recovery looks ahead of schedule, the Blues will be without Jack Martin for at least another week as he contends with a calf injury sustained in Round 14.
Voss expects the 27-year-old to be available for Round 17's clash against West Coast.
"He's not training today so he won't be available. He pulled up tight in that calf, we'll give him another week and he should be fine," Voss said.
Matt Owies, who was a late out against Fremantle, will be given a chance to prove his fitness ahead of Friday night's match.