HAWTHORN has been dealt a major blow in its bid to return to finals football, with critical small forward Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo ruled out for up to six weeks after both suffered leg injuries in last Sunday’s win over Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Rioli has what the Hawks are calling a moderate medial ligament strain in the same knee where he suffered a season-ending PCL injury in 2017.

He is expected to be sidelined for the next five-to-six weeks.

Puopolo, meanwhile, appeared to suffer a major hamstring injury, but has at least avoided surgery.

HAWTHORN small forward Paul Puopolo will be sidelined for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury.

“He’s probably pulled up a fraction better than we thought he may have,” said Hawthorn high performance manager Andrew Russell.

“He’s got a decent hamstring strain, he’s probably going to miss four-to-six weeks.”

It was a challenging afternoon on the medical front for Hawthorn, despite the impressive 64-point win that catapulted them into the top-four, there was some encouraging news as well.

Key defender James Frawley has pulled up well after missing the two middle quarters against the Demons because of a migraine and will be right to play against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Also in the selection frame for the weekend is utility Ryan Schoenmakers who has resumed full training after missing two weeks due to Achilles soreness.

This weekend will almost certainly see ruckman Jonathon Ceglar play his first game of football of any description since suffering an ACL injury in round 22 2016. After fully recovering from the knee injury, he suffered a back complaint on the eve of the series of practice matches, but after a month of training he appears to be good to go.

Veteran Shaun Burgoyne is back training at 90 per cent intensity following a hamstring strain sustained in the Easter Monday win over Geelong, but is set to miss one more game and should be right to play against St Kilda on Saturday week.

Important defender Grant Birchall is set to resume running next week as he recovers from more surgery on his troublesome PCL. The Hawks say he has regained full strength in the knee and are hopeful that he will return to the side in the second half of the season.

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