Greater Western Sydney's injury-cursed AFL season has worsened, with scans revealing ruckman Rory Lobb has a crack in his thoracic spine that will result in at least a month on the sidelines.
Lobb has joined stars Brett Deledio (calf), Toby Greene (foot), Tom Scully (ankle) and Zac Williams (achilles) - all walk-up starters in the Giants' first-choice team - on the club's injury list.
GWS coach Leon Cameron confirmed on Tuesday that Daniel Lloyd will be out for four to six weeks because of a medial ligament injury, but the revelation about Lobb was more unexpected.
Lobb suffered the painful injury during a marking contest in the Giants' 108-point victory over Gold Coast, 10 days ago.
The big man was rushed to hospital during that game, with the club fearing he'd punctured a lung.
"As the week progressed he was still in a fair bit of pain. We did some more investigation," Cameron told reporters.
"The crack is really small. It's in one of those real awkward spots in his back, so we've got to be really careful that it doesn't turn into a bigger issue.
"He just needs time to let that heal. It's really disappointing. He's clearly frustrated ... but we're really confident he'll come back and play some good footy for us at the back end of the year."
Cameron was happier to report Greene had "turned a corner" in his recovery, but added the small forward was still at least three weeks away from playing AFL.
"He's missed seven games now and we can't just roll him out there. Even though he'd say he'd like to play this week," Cameron said.
Veteran Dawson Simpson is likely to be recalled for the Giants' clash with Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday, although youngster Matthew Flynn has also been in good form for the club's NEAFL outfit.
Cameron also floated the idea of using Jon Patton, Adam Tomlinson and Harry Himmelberg as mobile big men against Lions gun Stefan Martin, as he did in round six.
Gold Coast ruckman Jarrod Witts helped himself to 64 hitouts in round 12, making the most of Lobb's absence, but it had no bearing on the scoreboard.
Lobb has also suffered knee and groin injuries this year, having been asked to step up as the club's premier ruckman following Shane Mumford's retirement.
"Dawson and Matty get a great opportunity to put their hands up and play some footy in that No.1 ruck role in the coming weeks," Cameron said.
"Getting that continuity with our midfielders is a big thing that Rory wants and we want it as a footy club, but that's life."