Worsfold remains optimistic about Daniher

Coach John Worsfold (r) says Joe Daniher's latest injury is only a minor setback for the player.
Coach John Worsfold (r) says Joe Daniher's latest injury is only a minor setback for the player.

Essendon coach John Worsfold has downplayed Joe Daniher's latest injury setback, saying it shouldn't be too long before the key forward is fit again.

Plagued by groin issues since his All-Australian season three years ago, Daniher - whose trade request to Sydney fell through last year - suffered a minor calf strain while training last weekend.

The 26-year-old was progressing well towards attempting to play his first game since May 2019 before pulling up sore.

Daniher has been limited to 11 games since the start of 2018.

"It just means he's in a program now to get that calf right before building up his volumes (of training) again," Worsfold said.

"He understands these setbacks will happen along the way but overall things are still progressing.

"It's just a normal calf so with the work he's been doing it won't take him too long to get back up to that (training level)."

Essendon are flying with a 4-1 record (with a game in hand) to sit fourth on the ladder despite their mounting injury list.

Dashing defender Conor McKenna is the latest concern after breaking his finger during the Bombers' win against North Melbourne on Saturday night.

Worsfold hasn't ruled McKenna out of taking on the Western Bulldogs this Friday night despite the 24-year-old undergoing surgery.

"(McKenna) obviously played out the game with a pretty sore hand and only really brought it up post-game," Worsfold said.

"Surgery is not something you take lightly so the good news is that he's had the all-clear to play providing he feels like he's able to play at the level he'd like to perform at.

"We won't know that until it settles after this operation ... but he's a tough nut so that's why we haven't ruled him out."

Worsfold said he was proud of how players had performed in the face of adversity.

Star forward Jake Stringer (ankle) and captain Dyson Heppell (ankle) will miss most of the season, while ace midfielder Dylan Shiel's two-game suspension was upheld at the tribunal on Tuesday night.

Australian Associated Press