Main content

Cripps on track for Round 1

McKay on health of list Head of Football Andrew McKay gives a pre-season update on how the boys are tracking.

Carlton star Patrick Cripps is firming to be available for the opening round of the season after making progress in his recovery from a serious back injury.

The Blues are hopeful that Cripps, who was laid low by a stress reaction in his back in November, will be fit to take on Richmond in Round 1 on March 23.

However, Carlton football manager Andrew McKay said the Club would have to wait and see whether ruckman Andrew Phillips can recover from a stress reaction in his foot in time to make the start of the premiership season.

"Patrick Cripps has been travelling really well actually, he's back running on the grass, which is fantastic," McKay told 

"He is still in line for Round 1, so we are very confident he will get to the line and play some good footy [against the Tigers]". 

The outlook for Phillips, however, is not so rosy.

"He saw a specialist [Tuesday] and the specialist was indicating there will be an eight-week return date," McKay said.

"It still keeps him in line for Round 1, but it will be tight. We are looking forward to getting Andrew back as soon as we can."

Patrick Cripps is on track for Carlton's season opener. (Photo: AFL Media)

Rookie-listed small forward Andrew Gallucci is expected to be training with the squad in March following shoulder surgery.

Irish defender Ciaran Byrne, who ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in July last year, is still looking at a 12-month recovery timeframe.

"Obviously he (Byrne) still has a long way to go,” McKay said.

"He has a lot of rehab to do but he is working really hard and we will see him (in action) before the end of the year, in early July we think."

The Blues open their JLT Community Series campaign against Melbourne at Casey Fields on February 25.

Sync Carlton's 2017 fixtures to your smartphone or online calendar