Richmond superstar Dustin Martin could miss another two matches with his hamstring injury as the Tigers press their case for an AFL finals berth.
Tom Lynch (hamstring) and Ivan Soldo (broken thumb) have also been ruled out of Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne, with Richmond looking to bounce back from a horror loss to Gold Coast.
Toby Nankervis (knee) is “doubtful” this week but Noah Balta (hamstring), Trent Cotchin (clavicle) and Josh Gibcus (illness) are all pushing to return.
Martin was sidelined as Richmond coughed up a 40-point lead in their loss to the Suns last Saturday night, having sustained the hamstring injury against West Coast the previous week.
The Tigers hold some hope their talisman will return in the Friday night clash with Fremantle in round 19.
“He’s progressing his speed and some kicking and agility,” Richmond physical performance manager Peter Burge said.
“He won’t be available this week, and given next week it’s a short turnaround on the Friday night, it’s going to be touch and go.
“Dustin’s missed some footy earlier in the year as well with some time off, so it’s really important that we maximise his preparation and make sure that when he comes back, he’s safe and he can finish off the year strongly.”
Key forward Lynch was hurt during the Gold Coast loss, injuring the hamstring on the opposite leg to the one that sidelined him earlier in the season.
“He’s going to miss this week and we’ll put him though a short rehab phase,” Burge said.
“Hopefully it will be a very short-term injury, but we’ll wait and see.”
Soldo will have surgery on his broken thumb this week and is expected to miss just one match.
Richmond (9-7) sit precariously in eight spot – just percentage clear of Sydney – and can ill-afford a loss to last-placed North Melbourne..