West Coast insist Nic Naitanui is on track to play against Fremantle in the club’s second JLT Community Series fixture on March 11.
Naitanui has been the subject of much scuttlebutt this week, with talk of further setbacks in his rehabilitation from a knee reconstruction in late 2016.
However in an injury report issued by the club, football manager Craig Vozzo said the ruckman was still on track to have his first hit-out within weeks.
“Nic’s had a really good couple of weeks from a conditioning point of view. The aim is still that we get some game minutes into him by JLT2,” he said.
“He’ll do more and more main training with the group in the next few weeks and we do match simulation as part of that. Nic will participate in that and we will see what response we get as he does each phase of training and that will govern how many minutes he gets later in the pre-season in terms of the JLT and the build up to the year.”
Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy is another hoping to prove his fitness for round one after off-season ankle surgery, while highly-prized draftee Oscar Allen (stress fracture) has also joined the main training group.
Fullback Eric Mackenzie (foot) is still at least two weeks away from a return to training.
The former best and fairest will be joined in recovery by Eagles draftee Jack Petruccelle, who will be on a restricted program for at least the next four weeks after dislocating a finger in the AFLX tournament.
The teenager is one of three Eagles to have suffered an injury in the experimental game, with Willie Rioli copping a knock to the knee and forward Matt Allen nursing a sore hip.
Rioli could still be considered for the club’s second JLT Community Series fixture against Fremantle on March 11.
“The doctors are quite happy, but he’ll probably have a light week this week, which will mean he’ll miss the first JLT game,” Vozzo said.
“We’re hoping he’ll be well and truly available for our next game.”