Demons cautious after Viney injury flares

Jason Phelan

Melbourne must continue their push for a top-four finish without star co-captain Jack Viney for the foreseeable future after he suffered a recurrence of a toe injury.

Viney was a late withdrawal from Saturday's 18.11 (119) to 10.9 (69) win over the Western Bulldogs after he reported soreness in the same toe that cut his season short in 2017 and sidelined him until round nine this year.

The 24-year-old had surgery to relieve plantar fasciitis in his right foot last year but was dogged by complications that included a stress fracture in his big toe.

Speaking after Saturday's win at the MCG, coach Simon Goodwin admitted Viney's return date was unclear.

"He was a little bit sore (on Friday) so he went for a scan and there were some early signs of stress on that toe," Goodwin said.

"Really we didn't want to push him, we think we need to get that right. We don't want to get to a stage where he can't play.

"We're really confident. Our medical team will do a bit more assessment on Monday and Tuesday but we need to de-load him.

"How long that takes? It might be a couple of weeks ... we'll just have to wait and see."

Viney has previously conceded he returned too quickly from surgery last season - he missed just two games - and the club will be at pains not to repeat the error.

The Demons are right in the hunt for their first finals appearance since 2006 with just six rounds to go.

Goodwin remains confident Viney will play a role but his health will come first.

"Clearly we'll do some more investigation into why it continues to flare," he said.

"It's really important for us to make sure that we really get on top of it.

"He's obviously frustrated but he's very optimistic in terms of where he's going and the impact he can still have.

"He's got that disappointment and frustration that he's dealing with but ... he was really positive today."