CARLTON key forward Jarrad Waite is in doubt to play in the blockbuster against Richmond in round one because of a calf injury.
Waite missed the Blues' NAB Cup wins over Greater Western Sydney and Sydney on Sunday, along with Chris Judd, Matthew Kreuzer and Heath Scotland, but that trio all trained on Wednesday.
Scotland will miss the first two games of the premiership season because of a club-imposed suspension over his guilty plea in an assault case last year, and could be joined in the stands by Waite, whose injury troubles kept him to 23 games in the past two seasons and 11 last year because of back troubles.
Blues coach Mick Malthouse said there was some doubt over whether the injury-prone forward would play against the Tigers at the MCG on March 28.
"I'm starting to think not but I'm not convinced he isn't. He's on line-ball at the moment," Malthouse said.
Carlton is weighing up whether Judd, Kreuzer and Scotland will resume against Fremantle on Saturday night, but the prospect of them missing another match did not faze Malthouse.
"They don't have to do a lot," he said.
"I don't believe you have to play practice matches. It's for young kids. They've got nothing to prove."
Young defender Andrew McInnes (knee) is the only Carlton player ruled out of the club's first game of the home and away season.
Malthouse said he was not surprised by Judd's revelation on Tuesday he would sign a contract this year to stay with the Blues for next year at least.
There was speculation the 29-year-old would consider retirement once his current six-year deal expired, but Malthouse said the Brownlow medallist, who has just overcome hamstring tightness, had plenty of football before him.
"He's a wonderful player and I think he's got plenty of years left in him. That's up to Chris," he said.
As he attempts to gel Carlton into playing his style, Malthouse revealed he knew it would take some time before the Blues adapted to a new game plan.
"I've got to be patient. Unfortunately patience is for the dead, it doesn't really suit me, but I'll have to live with it," he said.
But Malthouse said he was pleased with his side's next two opponents in the Dockers and Adelaide, whose own styles of play would test the Blues before the season proper.
"If we're going to learn anything about ourselves and what we need to do it's against one of the best defensive sides in the competition. Very, very well versed and very strong at the football," he said of Fremantle.
"Adelaide, I think they play on the other spectrum ... they're good defensively but they're very good offensively. They run well and we'll be playing them on their ground."