Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir says Nat Fyfe is making good progress from his back injury and hopes to have him back in action before the mid-season bye.
The Dockers are pushing to make the AFL top eight this season and have got the campaign off to a strong start. However having their skipper back fit and available will give them an extra lift.
Fyfe underwent a back operation to fix an issue and at the time said it was difficult to put a time-frame on when he would be able to return.
It was hoped he would return in round eight, but Longmuir says it looks as though it will be a little longer than that. Although he is making good progress.
"Probably a couple of weeks before the mid-season bye, around that time," Longmuir said when quizzed by reporters.
"It's hard to put it into time-frames for him. There's a bit of an unknown around the injury but he is progressing well and we expect him to keep progressing those loads."
The 30-year-old has been unable to start running on the grass just yet, but he is able to do light training and Longmuir says he should be able to step it up soon.
"We expect that to ramp up over the next couple of weeks," he added. "It's all gone to plan so far. He's been able to run on the AlterG and get some run into his legs that way. We expect him to be able to keep progressing."