Adelaide lose key defender for clash against Essendon

Adelaide key defender Jordon Butts is out injured but fellow backman Brodie Smith has been cleared to play in the AFL round-six battle against Essendon.

Butts is sidelined after a knock to his hamstring last time out, while Smith was on restricted duties at match-eve Thursday training because of back soreness.

"(He was) just a little bit sore from the weekend so it was a light session for him," Crows coach Matthew Nicks said of Smith.

"We're hopeful he will be fine, we're reasonably confident." 

Nicks will summon six-gamer James Borlase to fill Butts' fullback post for Friday night's Adelaide Oval fixture, but ruled out highly rated draftee Daniel Curtin from making his AFL debut.

Curtin, who the Crows manoeuvred to secure with pick No.8 at last year's draft, will remain in state league ranks - for now.

"You're never that far away ... he's playing some good footy at SANFL level," Nicks said of the 19-year-old West Australian.

"There is no rush from our point of view to throw him in, but we're really pleased with how he's developing.

"Before you know it, we will be sitting here talking about Dan and ... I am confident he will play footy this year at AFL level."

Nicks has recalled Lachlan Sholl as a replacement for Matt Crouch, who will serve a one-game ban for rough conduct - the Crows considered appealing against the punishment before moving on.

Former skipper Rory Sloane remains in the wilderness after eye surgery.

"He's just working his way through now the physical and mental side of what is getting back into footy," Nicks said.

"There will be no time frame put on that from our point of view.

"He's a champion at this footy club and we'll make sure that he's able to make that decision in his own time."

Asked if Sloane, a 255-gamer who turned 34 last month, remained a genuine playing proposition this season, Nicks said: "They are the conversations we have weekly.

"He's out there working, working probably mainly around the goggles and how he's able to wear those and compete and fight inside.

"But he's been training all our main sessions, not full contact at this point - that's probably his next step.

"When he's at full contact and putting his head in the hole, it's going to be a challenge for him.

"He has got a lot of good people around him that will help him make that decision."

Essendon have recalled second-year midfielder Elijah Tsatas as a replacement for Jye Menzie, who hurt a shoulder in last week's impressive win over the Western Bulldogs.

That result gave the Bombers a positive 3-2 record for the season ahead of another trip to South Australia, where they were embarrassed by Port Adelaide a fortnight ago.

The Crows (1-4) will be eager to build a strong form line after breaking through for their first victory of the season in last week's upset of Carlton.

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