Tom Stewart's ankle injury isn't as bad as first thought, but Geelong coach Chris Scott has all but ruled the star defender out of their AFL clash with Richmond.
The Cats feared Stewart's season might be over after he limped out of Saturday's match against Brisbane after getting his left ankle trapped underneath him in a tackle.
The gloom around his immediate future cleared somewhat on Monday when scans cleared him of serious damage.
The 25-year-old is still hopeful of taking part in Friday night's blockbuster match against the ladder leaders, but the Cats will take a cautious approach.
"It's certainly better than we thought," Scott told Fox Footy's AFL360 on Monday night.
"The early diagnosis was that it is a very serious injury and he'd probably miss the rest of the year.
"I think Tom is putting on a brave face ... I think he's calling it a flesh wound but it's a bit more serious than that.
"In his mind he hasn't ruled out this week, which I think is ridiculous, but it's nice to know there's a chance he'll come back this year."
Geelong, who sit in eighth spot by percentage, are desperate for a win to to shore up their spot in the eight.
That's easier said than done against the marauding Tigers, who are on an record-breaking 18-game winning streak at the MCG and are a game clear on top of the ladder with the best percentage in the league.
"I think they're clearly the best team in the competition at the moment, but they're not so dominant that if they have an off day that they won't get beaten," Scott said.
"The ladder from second to 10th or 12th is very tight and you can make an argument for any one of those teams (to win) on their day."
Richmond will be without star onballer Dion Prestia, who fractured a rib in last week's win over Collingwood.