DEFENDER Michael Hibberd has pulled up strongly after playing in Casey’s season opener against Williamstown at Burbank Oval on Easter Monday.
It was the recruit’s first game since Melbourne’s second JLT Community Series game against Carlton at Casey Fields, after he missed five weeks with an Achilles injury.
Elite performance manager Dave Misson said Hibberd, who had 25 disposals, was one of Casey’s better performers in its 23-point loss.
“He played on Easter Monday and played decent game time and importantly, he pulled up pretty well, so we’re happy with where Michael’s at,” he told Melbourne TV.
Misson said Col Garland (knee), Max Gawn (hamstring), Joel Smith (shoulder) and Josh Wagner (thumb) had all recently undergone surgery and had started their rehab.
“Col, with his ACL reco, did his first bike session on Tuesday, so he was pretty pleased about that.”
“Maxy is tracking really well. He’s recovered well from the surgery and the wound looks good. He’ll start more activity towards the end of this week.
First-year Demon Pat McKenna (hamstring) is set to miss at least another six weeks and utility Aaron vandenBerg (heel) was still another six to eight weeks away.
“Aaron hasn’t started running yet, so he may be a little bit longer.”
Youngsters Liam Hulett (hip) and Mitch King (knee) are also available this week. If King plays, it will be his first match since he injured his knee in the VFL season opener last year.
“Mitch is recovering from the ACL that he had – this time last year. He’s available this weekend with Casey,” he said.
“Liam had a hip problem from about four weeks ago and he’s trained really strongly and he’ll play for Casey this week.”
Melbourne injury list: round five
Colin Garland (knee) – season
Max Gawn (hamstring) – 12 weeks
Jesse Hogan (suspension) – available
Liam Hulett (hip) – available
Jordan Lewis (suspension) – 1 week
Mitch King (knee) – available
Pat McKenna (hamstring) – 6-8 weeks
Joel Smith (shoulder) – 12 weeks
Aaron vandenBerg (heel) – 6-8 weeks
Josh Wagner (thumb) - 2 weeks