ORAZIO Fantasia could be a surprise inclusion if Essendon plays an elimination final, with the small forward progressing well from a right hamstring strain.
The club initially thought the injury, which he suffered in early August against Carlton, would keep him sidelined until late September.
However, high performance manager Justin Crow told essendonfc.com.au the Bombers were optimistic about Fantasia’s timeline.
The 21-year-old ran between five and six kilometres on Tuesday
“He won’t do any high-speed running until he’s ready, which is probably not going to be this week. Looking at the next couple of weeks after that,” Crow said.
“If we make the finals, Orazio will be a chance to play the first final, depending on how well he progresses over the next couple of weeks.”
Fantasia has booted 38 goals from his 19 games this season and was part of a dangerous forward set-up including Joe Daniher, Cale Hooker and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
However, Josh Green won’t be seen again after it was confirmed he needed surgery on his left foot for a Jones fracture.
Star defender Michael Hurley is a chance to return from a calf strain in Essendon’s must-win clash against Fremantle on Sunday afternoon at Etihad Stadium.
Victory would lock up a spot in September.
“He’s still some chance to play this weekend, but obviously everything has to go right and we’ll see how he’s progressing later this week,” Crow said.
Ruckman Matthew Leuenberger (ankle) and midfielder Heath Hocking (hamstring corkie) are tests this week.