Sydney coach John Longmire has declared Isaac Heeney a certain starter for Friday night's clash with the Western Bulldogs, while Josh Kennedy is a sneaky chance of making an early AFL return.
Kennedy hasn't played since tearing his hamstring while wiping out Carlton's Sam Docherty in a late spoiling attempt in round 10.
The 34-year-old was banned for one match over the incident, but he was ruled out for at least two months anyway due to the severity of the hamstring injury.
Kennedy has been ramping up his training loads over the past fortnight, and will put his hand up for selection if he can jump a series of hurdles this week.
If Kennedy is deemed fit to play this week, he will either return for Sydney against the Bulldogs, or via the VFL.
"It's been seven weeks. Our original estimation was eight weeks. We'll see how he is this week," Longmire said.
"We'd like to see how his training progresses this week. There's a couple of important steps he's still got to make in the ramp up.
"He has been training for a couple of weeks, doing ball work, but this week is an important week for him ... just competing and tackling and just normal stuff you'd expect to do during the course of a game.
"I'm not saying he's going to definitely play this week. It may be another week.
"We may get to later in the week and decide he needs to do a little bit more, but we don't have that information in front of us at the moment."
Heeney struggled in last week's nine-point loss to Essendon after copping a hit above his knee.
He ended the match with two goals from nine disposals.
But Longmire brushed aside any concerns about the 26-year-old's knee, saying Heeney will be fit and ready to confront the Bulldogs.
"He's pulled up fine. He's all good," Longmire said.
"Essentially he just got a bad knee to the top of his quad. As you can imagine during the course of the game and particularly after half-time after you've cooled down a little bit (it was hard to play with).
"But he's looked after it and pulled up well."
The shock loss to Essendon saw Sydney (9-6) slip to eighth spot.
Longmire said learning how to be more consistent held the key to Sydney's fortunes this year.
Australian Associated Press
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