North Melbourne's head of performance Kevin White says Luke Davies-Uniacke still needs to "jump a few hurdles" to be declared fit for Saturday's match against Gold Coast.
It's been a frustrating campaign for the No.9, who has been constantly interrupted by injuries following his emphatic start to the season that saw him receive 20 AFLCA Champion Player of the Year Award votes from a possible 20.
A late withdrawal from the team to face Richmond, he will test over the week to prove his fitness for what would be his 15th match this season.
"Luke had some significant bruising and bleeding underneath his big toe after his game last week (against Essendon)," White said.
"He was too sore to run on the Tuesday, we tested him in runners and boots on the Thursday as a functional assessment test and to see if he has any chance to get up for the game - he was just too sore as soon as he switched into his football boots.
"Today (Tuesday) he had a light run out on the ground and showed improvement but he's very much a test still for Thursday."
Co-captain Luke McDonald is set to have surgery later in the week after suffering a high-grade hamstring injury in the second quarter of last Saturday's game.
White says that he and the club are "anticipating a 12-week rehab" period for the experienced defender.
"He blew the muscle belly in the middle and will have a procedure done on Thursday to stitch that back up again," he said.
"The first four weeks (post-surgery) will just be recovery, then he'll build through his strength and running in that second four-week block.
"He'll then integrate into the main off-season program from eight weeks onwards.
"(We're) hoping that on day one of pre-season he's back and unrestricted."
Liam Shiels is "tracking well" with his calf but the veteran has been ruled out of featuring again this season.
"He's probably about a week behind in his recovery, so at this stage he's just bridging back into football training," White said.
"In terms of Thursday's main training and beyond, it's probably just a bridge too far this week."