Carlton has a small number of players with injury niggles ahead of next week’s first NAB Challenge game, but Head of Football Andrew McKay is confident most of the list will be fully fit for Round 1.
Backman Andrew Walker has been recovering from a knee complaint that cut his season short last year. McKay says the Blues’ No. 1 will slowly increase his training load and is a chance to play in Carlton’s final NAB Challenge game against Geelong.
“Andrew had another small procedure before Christmas and obviously he’s been on restricted duties since then,” McKay said.
“But is he building up his training and is still in line to play in round one.”
Youngsters Mark Whiley, Jayden Foster and Nick Holman have also had injury concerns.
Holman has some ITB stiffness down the side of his leg. He’s undergone a procedure to release the tension and will be in line for selection for Round 1.
New recruit Jayden Foster will also be in line for selection despite suffering a stress reaction in his foot a month ago.
Whiley has been suffering with Achilles soreness but will be in line for the final two NAB Challenge games.
“Despite the Achilles soreness, Mark’s (Whiley) tendon is in good shape, it’s the sheath around the tendon that’s been causing the soreness,” McKay said.
"He had a little procedure done a couple of weeks ago to separate that sheath from the tendon and so he’s on modified duties, but he’ll be fit as a fiddle by Round 1.”
David Ellard remains a chance to play in Round 1 after hurting his calf in an intra-club game last week.
But one man who won’t be lining up is ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, who will spend the next 4-6 weeks in a moonboot. McKay says the big man is staying positive.
“Matthew's already started work in the gym doing a lot of upper body stuff – he hasn’t stopped working,” McKay said.
"He was obviously very disappointed initially, but he can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the fact that there’s no surgery and he will be back playing early on in the season."
And some good news on the injury front with Cameron Giles ditching the moonboot. After eight months of rehab, Giles is finally off crutches and beginning to build up his training. The 19-year-old hopes to be back playing by mid-season.