Cooney, 27, is believed to have suffered some first soreness to his troublesome left knee last week after a heartening summer of no ill-effects from surgery last October.
Higgins, 25, is understood to have incurred a nagging foot problem, that Dogs coach Brendon McCartney revealed on Melbourne radio on Tuesday as a bruised heel.
It had been feared the classy mover and handy goal-finishing utility, could have sustained the dreaded plantar fascia underneath his foot, which can linger and be awkward to treat and shake off.
McCartney and Dogs medical staff are also monitoring crucial big key position utility Tom Williams who is understood to have suffered a nagging hamstring strain as he increased his training loads after completing scheduled rehabilitation running.
Williams, 26, was limited to just three senior outings last year after missing much of the season with serious shoulder problems and then a foot injury to miss the last five matches.
The big key position all-rounder looks sure to miss the start of the new premiership season program.
The Dogs have until Easter Saturday afternoon on March 30 to have the important trio back up and running in time to play much improved Brisbane at Etihad Stadium in their premiership season opener.
Cooney played in the opening NAB Cup triangular series engagements against Essendon and Collingwood a fortnight back and was scheduled to rest for the Dogs' significantly improved and impressive one-point victory over competition heavyweights Hawthorn last Friday.
McCartney is buoyed by Cooney’s relatively trouble-free summer training program, but confessed the 2008 Brownlow medallist will continue to be carefully handled and managed by Dogs medicos after his intricate surgery in Europe last October.
The Dogs start their second premiership campaign under McCartney with three consecutive Etihad Stadium engagements against the Lions, Fremantle and Richmond before a trip to AAMI Stadium to confront Adelaide.
They wind-up April with another Etihad commitment against Geelong in Round 5.
McCartney implemented some influential positional moves to generate a substantially improved performance against the Hawks with the most significant a switch of big Jordan Roughead into key defensive duty and clever mover Robert Murphy as a main tall and leading marking target up forward.
Full recovery from niggles to Cooney, Higgins and Williams looms as crucial to McCartney having his Dogs approaching best available strength to launch his second season at the helm.