West Coast forward Oscar Allen is back in a moon boot with no set time on a return to football in another major setback to the Eagles’ stumbling bid to get their season back on track.
Allen, who is yet to play at all this season after injuring a foot in the pre-season, is now not expected to play for at least the next month.
The Eagles have said they are taking a conservative approach to Allen’s foot problem and the return to a moon boot was a precaution.
Eagles head of health Mark Finucane predicted that young midfielders Connor West (hip) and Luke Edwards (groin) would be available to face Port Adelaide this weekend but said the Eagles were treading carefully with Allen.
“Oscar we are taking a conservative approach with,” he said. “Really important young player for us. Still just working through what his build is to return to play.”
As recently a week ago the Eagles had listed Allen as just one to two weeks away from returning to the field on the club’s injury list.
He was listed as TBC (to be confirmed) on Tuesday night.
Signs that all had not gone according to plan during the lay off came on ABC radio on Saturday when captain Luke Shuey was asked how far away from a return Allen was.
“It’s a tricky one. He is 22 and about to hit his prime and really important for us,” he said.
“It is not something we want to muck around with.
“The foot injuries can be really tricky things and we have seen them derail some really good players over the journey.
“I don’t know that I can give you an exact number of weeks but he will probably miss the next couple being safe and hopefully get him back over the next month or so and see if he can slot in alongside Josh and Jack again.”
Allen, who recently turned 23, is widely regarded as West Coast’s best young player.
The 192cm forward has played as ruck support to Nic Naitanui for the past season but he is expected to be the player who steps into the role played by Josh Kennedy if Kennedy retires, as expected, after the 2022 season.
As a teenager Allen was placed on standby for Jeremy McGovern has the defender battled a rib injury in the week leading into the 2018 grand final.
He kicked 20, 18 and 28 goals in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 seasons, starting the 2021 season by booting 16 goals in six games before being required to back Naitanui in the ruck later in the season.