North Melbourne could be without in-form forward Cam Zurhaar for this week's mammoth test against a rampant Geelong side, with the hard-nosed goalkicker still battling a shoulder injury.
Zurhaar has played through the pain barrier recently, but struggled during last week's emphatic victory over Carlton after copping a number of significant blows to his troublesome shoulder.
Having failed to hit the scoreboard in each of his first five matches this season, Zurhaar has turned his campaign around to kick 24 goals from his last 12 games alongside Nick Larkey in a promising Kangaroos attack.
But the tough 23-year-old faces a fitness test on Thursday to prove his availability, with coach David Noble casting some doubt over his chances to make the trip to Blundstone Arena.
"We'll see how he pulls up today," Noble said.
"We're not 100 per cent sure whether he'll get through. With a month to go in the season, if it means he's got to have a spell for a week then we'll have that discussion. At this stage, he's probably 50-50 I'd have thought."
North Melbourne will already be without young midfielder Tarryn Thomas, who has entered the AFL's 12-day concussion protocols, while Ben Cunnington will also be sidelined for an indefinite period having undergone an operation to remove a testicular tumour earlier this week.
However, last year's No.3 pick Will Phillips is expected to feature against Geelong despite breaking his nose during the victory over Carlton. Veteran defender Robbie Tarrant (adductor) and young forward Jack Mahony (shoulder) are also fit and available for selection.
But the club is leaning towards shutting down impressive young midfielder Tom Powell for the remainder of the season. Last year's first-round pick hasn't featured for five weeks due to a pubic overload, with the club not prepared to take any risks on the developing onballer.
"We'll probably know by the end of the week as to whether or not we'll be able to get him back up and going," Noble said.
"We've tried to move him forward a little bit, but there's been a little bit of soreness. With him being a younger guy and with the loads he's had, we'll decide at the end of the week as to whether we push on or say that's enough.
"You know what those young guys are like, they want to push through and come back and get going. But there's also an understanding that you don't want any long-term issues to delay his pre-season.
"We probably are (leaning towards wrapping him in cotton wool). I wouldn't tell him that just yet, but he'll probably know that now. I'm probably leaning more that way, but we'll have those discussions with the medical staff in the next couple of days."