Top-eight hopefuls Essendon are set lose Jobe Watson for up to a month after the skipper injured his thigh in Saturday night’s narrow AFL win over Greater Western Sydney.
Watson limped off midway through the final quarter of the gritty contest at Spotless Stadium and did not return.
Coach Mark Thompson said the 29-year-old would be assessed but suspected he’d damaged his quadriceps.
“If it ends up being a quad, it’s probably four weeks (out),” he said.
“(We’ll need to) get our heads around that.
“It’s not always a bad thing, as long as he does good rehab.
“It’s just over halfway through the season, so there’s plenty of time.”
But it’s the coming weeks that are perhaps the most crucial for the Bombers, who sit just outside the top eight with a 6-5 record.
They next face Melbourne, Adelaide and Geelong all in the Victorian capital – matches that could determine their place in the finals.
“They’re all teams we are competing against – especially Adelaide and Geelong – so we’d like to really play well,” said Thompson.
“If we got the same result we did (against GWS), we’d take it every day of the week.”
While the expected return of Michael Hurley from a back injury next week will be a boost, David Myers is an uncertainty after being reported for striking young Giant Devon Smith.
The third-quarter incident sparked a fiery melee and breathed new life into a tired GWS outfit, who gave Essendon fans a fright in the final term when they clawed back to within a point.
But Thompson said he never feared losing the game and was satisfied with the outcome.
“You don’t want to be playing your best footy mid-season,” he said.
“We weren’t jumping out of our skin. And when that happens, it’s good to win still.
“I don’t become super critical and over-analyse little things.
“We have to be just a bit more consistent.
“We’ve got things we need to work on and … we have to do them every week, every quarter of every game.”