West Coast coach Adam Simpson has suggested Nic Naitanui is unlikely to play football this year, and he will treat a 2017 return from the star ruckman as an "absolute bonus" for the Eagles.
Naitanui has been in intense rehabilitation after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in round 22 last year, but progress has slowed in recent weeks.
Simpson has said it's too difficult to plan for the possibility of Naitanui playing football this season.
But he expects to know more soon.
“We’re not really planning for it. It’s too hard to," he said on Channel 7's Eagle Vision.
"So we’ll get a sense in the next month whether the progression is going to be quick enough to come back this year.
“If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. If it does, it’s an absolute bonus for us.
“He’s taking each week as it comes. Little goals are his focus at the moment. The longer term stuff will take care of itself.”
Naitanui is the biggest name in a depleted ruck division for the Eagles, with Scott Lycett (shoulder) and Drew Petrie (hand) both sidelined for at least two more months.