Fremantle veteran Michael Johnson will get a clearer picture of his future this week when the club decides how best to fill the void left by injured defender Alex Pearce.
Pearce is expected to undergo surgery after breaking his thumb during Sunday's three-point win over Adelaide at Optus Stadium.
The 23-year-old has been Fremantle's best defender this season and his absence will leave a major hole.
Johnson was dropped after the round-10 loss to North Melbourne as Fremantle coach Ross Lyon amped up the club's rebuild.
The 33-year-old is out of contract at season's end and looks increasingly unlikely to earn a new deal.
On paper, Johnson shapes as the perfect replacement for Pearce.
But if Lyon prefers to trial more of the squad's younger players, it may mean that Johnson will have to bide his time on the sidelines for a bit longer.
"He still wants to play. He is pretty proud," Lyon said of Johnson, who has played 239 games during a glittering career.
"He is leading our young players at Peel. He is such a good person. He works hard as a role model. It is what it is.
"We really respect Michael. In my tenure there is no one I respect higher than Michael.
"He will play a part. He understands what his part is and what we're trying to do. He will pick up the baton if need be."
If Lyon opts against recalling Johnson, the likes of Taylin Duman, Ryan Nyhuis Brennan Cox or Shane Kersten could fill in for Pearce.
Young defender Griffin Logue is set to spend eight weeks on the sidelines after injuring ankle ligaments while playing in the WAFL.
Cox was the hero on Sunday, booting 4.0 to guide his side to the 10.11 (71) to 9.14 (68) win.
The result improved Fremantle's season ledger to 5-7 and was achieved without star players Nat Fyfe, Aaron Sandilands, Stephen Hill and Brad Hill.
Fyfe (suspension) and Sandilands (concussion) are set to return for Saturday's clash with Carlton at Etihad Stadium.
But Michael Walters will miss the match after copping a one-match suspension for his punch to the stomach of Jake Kelly.
Walters was cleared of a separate headbutt report against Tom Doedee.