GWS star Lachie Whitfield is all but certain to miss Round 1 despite making steady improvement from a bruised liver.

Whitfield will again meet with specialists later this week to plot the next step, but he is understood to still be a fair way off resuming any sort of contact training, let alone a match situation.

The All-Australian and dual best and fairest is said to be steadily recovering from the unique injury – suffered from backing back in a pack a month ago – but hasn’t been able to train with any meaningful consistency.

Whitfield started running again only last week.

Meanwhile, former Giants captain Phil Davis is set to play three quarters of a VFL practice match this weekend – the defender’s first hit-out since undergoing post-season knee surgery last year.

GWS host Sydney on Sunday afternoon in the AAMI Community Series.

They take on St Kilda in Round 1 at Giants Stadium on March 21.