The Western Bulldogs are confident Jamarra Ugle-Hagan will avoid a significant stint on the sidelines despite the AFL’s No.1 draft pick being treated in hospital for a thumb injury.
Ugle-Hagan dislocated his right thumb while playing for Footscray in a VFL practice match against Essendon at Tullamarine on Saturday.
He kicked two goals during the second quarter before suffering the injury.
A Bulldogs official said Ugle-Hagan was withdrawn from the match as a precaution, with the forward to be assessed further in the coming days.
The damage is expected to be confirmed as “minor”, the official told AAP.
Ugle-Hagan’s two goals in Footscray’s win over Essendon were another sign the gun youngster is gradually edging closer to an AFL debut.
He also kicked five goals in a recent VFL practice match against Collingwood, earning praise from senior coach Luke Beveridge.
“To see some of his specific gifts and traits in his game come out that allowed him to rise to the top of that draft order was really exciting for all of us to see,” Beveridge said on Tuesday.
“He’s still got a fair way to go and we’ve got to make sure that he’s ready to be productive in winning games of footy for us
“It was a step in the right direction but he definitely won’t be in the (AFL) team this week.”
The Bulldogs take on West Coast in a round-two AFL clash at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.