The Western Bulldogs remain confident Liam Picken will return this AFL season as he continues his slow recovery from a serious concussion.
The hard-nut forward suffered his latest concussion in a sickening clash during a March 3 pre-season win over Hawthorn and remains listed as an "indefinite" out for the 2016 premiers.
Coach Luke Beveridge last week admitted there was a slim chance the head knock could end Picken's career.
Beveridge took a more optimistic tone on Tuesday, saying he believed Picken would return to football before the year was out.
"He's still getting some headaches and training with the ball isn't working out for him at the moment," Beveridge said.
"So there's some concerns there.
"How far away his return is, I just can't tell you ... (but) I just can't see that there won't be a point in time where Liam comes to us, and we work to that point with him, and he says 'I'm ready'.
"I think he'll play footy before the year is out, I just don't know when that will be."
Picken was also concussed during last season's round-eight loss to West Coast.
He has been largely restricted to running and strength work since returning to training, with Beveridge admitting the 31-year-old had found it tough to train with the ball.
"The effects of the concussion, I can't give you the technical or medical side of it," Beveridge said.
"He's seeing some specialists outside of the club to help him as well and to give our staff advice.
"We're really meeting it head-on as far as looking after his wellbeing and his future and we'll be really well-advised by the time Liam comes to us and says 'I want to play' as to whether or not that's a good idea."