Greater Western Sydney ruckman Rory Lobb will make an unexpected comeback against Hawthorn in Saturday night's AFL clash at Spotless Stadium, some three weeks after being rushed to hospital from the same ground.
Lobb has emerged the unlikely candidate to fill the immense void left by Jeremy Cameron, who will miss the Giants' next five games through suspension.
Lobb was crunched in a marking contest during the Giants' win over Gold Coast in round 12, with medicos fearing he may have a punctured lung.
The 25-year-old was cleared of serious damage and sent home but the pain didn't abate and follow-up scans revealed a small fracture in his thoracic spine.
GWS coach Leon Cameron suggested last week Lobb would be out for "four or five weeks" but the big man has since made some big steps in his recovery.
"Rory's really surprised us with how quickly he's improved over the past week or so," Cameron said on Thursday.
"His training has built up day by day since that big hit.
"He took part in main training yesterday and put his hand up for selection.
"We know Rory adds some great versatility to our side, so we look forward to welcoming him back."
Lobb, asked to step up as the club's premier ruckman following Shane Mumford's retirement, has also suffered knee and groin injuries during a stop-start campaign.
He is likely to spend plenty of time in the Giants' forward line on Saturday, with wrecking-ball ruckman Dawson Simpson retaining his spot in the side that defeated Brisbane.
"You can't replace like for like ... you can't bring another Jeremy Cameron in," Cameron said.
The clash between ninth-placed Hawthorn and 10th-placed GWS will have major implications for both clubs' finals prospects.
"We know the equation. We've got to keep winning because we're outside the eight and we've got to chase sides that are in the eight down to get a spot," Cameron said."