Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is hopeful Aaron Naughton won't miss the club's finals series even if the star forward requires surgery on a facial injury.
The Bulldogs secured a finals berth and crushed Melbourne's hopes in the process with a 30-point win over Fremantle at Cazaly's Stadium on Sunday.
But the win came at a major cost, with Naughton suffering a suspected compressed fracture of the cheekbone after a clash of heads with Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy.
If further investigations reveal Naughton has suffered damage to his eye socket, then he will almost certainly miss the start of the finals.
Beveridge hopes that isn't the case.
"We believe it's a compressed fracture of the cheekbone," Beveridge said.
"Sometimes players can almost play the next week, or definitely in two weeks' time.
"So if Naughts' is minor, and it's just the cheek, then hopefully he'll be right for the first final.
"But if it's up around the eye socket, it could be a bit worse. We haven't got confirmation of where it is, but it's pretty firm he's got a compressed fracture in his cheekbone.
"We think he'll need surgery."
Beveridge said Mitch Wallis (shoulder) escaped serious injury and shouldn't be in doubt for the finals.
The Bulldogs slipped to ninth following Melbourne's win over Essendon on Saturday, meaning they needed a draw or a win against Fremantle to claw their way back into the top eight.
The Demons were hoping for a Fremantle upset and the Bulldogs seemed in danger after star forward Naughton went to hospital at half-time.
But the Bulldogs restricted Fremantle to just one goal in the second half to secure the 11.8 (74) to 6.8 (44) win.
The result means the Bulldogs will finish either seventh or eighth, with their final position depending on Collingwood's clash with Port Adelaide on Monday.
The Bulldogs will either take on West Coast or St Kilda in an elimination final.
The Demons, despite boasting a 9-8 record and a percentage of 107.8, finish ninth.
Bulldogs midfielder Lachie Hunter was prolific with 34 disposals and a goal, while ruckman Tim English booted two goals and handed off another.
Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe battled hard to finish with 23 disposals, six clearances and two goals in a losing effort.
Fremantle suffered a blow before the match when Matt Taberner was a late withdrawal with a quad injury.
The first term was a scrappy affair as both sides committed inexplicable turnovers.
Fyfe added some polish in the second quarter with two goals, including a 60m bomb.
But the Bulldogs took control despite kicking against the breeze, booting five goals for the term to take a 12-point lead into the long break.
The Bulldogs dominated field position in the second half, but it wasn't until the final term when they got true reward for their efforts.