Champion ruckman Nic Naitanui is edging closer to a return to football after missing the last three months with a knee injury.

He has not played since the round four victory over Collingwood at Marvel Stadium and a decision on his return date is imminent, listed as a test in this week’s injury update. 

The three-time all-Australian and dual John Worsfold medallist was instrumental in the victory over the Pies but suffered a medial ligament injury at a centre bounce in the dying moments of the game.

While the time frame with Naitanui will become clearer later this week, young midfielder Xavier O’Neill, who has not played for two months, will resume for the WAFL Eagles against South Fremantle on Saturday evening.

02:05 Mins
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SJOG Health Care Injury Update: Round 15

We sit down with Mark Finucane, Head of Health, to discuss injuries leading up to Round 15

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“Nic’ has had a good few weeks of training, laid in some ruck work and is very close to seeing a return to game minutes in the next week or so,” said West Coast Eagles Head of Health Mark Finucane.

“Xavier has a good last month of training. He has had some game-like sessions in terms of running output and we should see him out there playing this weekend.

“All three – (ruled out with influenza last week) Tim Kelly, Liam Ryan and Samo Petrevski-Seton – blew out the cobwebs early in the week trained today. They felt good for the session so they’re on track to be available this week.”

Four-time all-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern, badly injured in the game against Geelong last Saturday, has had surgery on his broken ribs and will rehabilitate. He is not expected at the club this week.

“Jeremy has had his surgery and he is just recovering now,” Finucane said. “We will see him back in the club next week and work through with the doctors as to his plan moving forward.

“But he will review with his surgeon in a couple of weeks and see how everything looks from there.

“Unfortunately, Hugh Dixon was doing some leads, landed awkwardly on his ankle and it looks like he’s stirred up, jarred some old niggles in the ankle.

“That has recovered quickly so it’s a minor setback in the scheme and he’s only a week or two from playing.”

Injury list:

Player Injury Estimated Return
Oscar Allen ankle inactive
Campbell Chesser ankle inactive
Luke Edwards groin inactive
Tom Cole ankle inactive
Tom Joyce ankle TBC
Zac Langdon ankle 2-3 weeks
Jeremy McGovern ribs TBC
Xavier O’Neill knee available
Nic Naitanui knee test
Hugh Dixon ankle 1-2 weeks
Tim Kelly ‘flu available
Sam Petrevski-Seton ‘flu available
Liam Ryan ‘flu available