Carlton captain Marc Murphy is only a few weeks away from returning from injury, according to a senior club official.
Murphy suffered a high ankle injury against Geelong in round 10.
The 29-year-old was only expected to miss two to three weeks, but chief executive Steven Trigg said the nature of the injury meant it had been difficult for medical staff to put a timeline on return.
He said Murphy had told the club he could return within weeks.
"I was watching him yesterday running, and some of his agility work is looking better, so it sounds like he's only going to be a couple of weeks away," Trigg told SEN Radio.
Trigg said although it had been difficult to lose their captain through the middle of the season, it had given Bryce Gibbs, Patrick Cripps and others a chance to step into leadership roles.