West Coast have been dealt a blow after learning Brendon Ah Chee will miss the start of the AFL season.
The big-bodied midfielder has been ruled out of the season-opener against Sydney at Optus Stadium on 25th March with a high ankle sprain.
He was hurt in a tackle by Jasper Pittard in the third quarter of Sunday's two-point win over Port Adelaide in the JLT Community Series.
Coach Adam Simpson had initially hoped the player had only a minor issue, but scans have shown the sprain and the club's medical staff have put him on crutches.
The 24-year-old is likely to be forced to return via WAFL-affiliate East Perth early in the season.
If we can get him running in the next three-to-four weeks, we won't be too far behind the eight-ball.Craig Vozzo
Eagles general manager of football Craig Vozzo said: "We've put him on crutches for the next three-to-five days and we'll progress from there.
"He's obviously disappointed that he'll be missing games because he's got a really good base of training from which to build on."
Ah Chee joined the Eagles on a one-year deal in a bid to get more game time, having made just 26 appearances over six seasons with Port Adelaide.
Vozzo said: "The good news is that with that solid pre-season, if we can get him running in the next three-to-four weeks, we won't be too far behind the eight-ball.
"Then he'll be able to make his way back to some games in the early part of the year and hopefully playing in the seniors before you know it."
The Eagles will be without Jeremy McGovern in Sunday's hit-out against Fremantle after he copped a hit in the head from Robbie Gray in the opening term of the Port Adelaide game.
West Coast are 13/10 to win the Grand Final. The Eagles are 1/250 to finish in the top eight.
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