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Viney and McDonald face delayed starts

Ben Guthrie  September 8, 2017 4:56 PM

MELBOURNE co-captain Jack Viney and swingman Tom McDonald face delayed starts to their pre-season campaigns, with the star pair not expected to join the main training group until at least Christmas.

Viney, who missed the last two games of the season with a foot injury, will be gradually eased back into training as the Demons take a cautious approach to avoid the possibility of the midfielder developing a stress reaction or fracture in his foot.

McDonald went under the knife on his right ankle last week and is due to have an arthroscope on his left ankle next week, with the Demons hopeful he may be able to join in main training sometime before Christmas.

Demons elite performance manager Dave Misson said the Demons would take no risks with Viney's foot injury, with the midfielder expected to be in the rehab group until the club's first break at the end of December.

"Jack is going to have a longer time off his legs and a more gradual progression once he does start loading and running," Misson told the club's website.

"He'll be in the rehab group up until Christmas."

Had Melbourne defeated Collingwood in the last round of the season and made the finals, Misson said Viney would have remained in severe doubt for this weekend.

Ultimately, the Demons missed the finals by 0.5 per cent with the Eagles claiming eighth spot.

"Jack, on the other hand, would've really been touch and go. He was still pretty sore and had another scan on that foot. While there didn’t show to be a crack in the bone in that toe – that toe was still pretty 'hot' (sore)," Misson said.

"There was a lot of pressure there and he's back on the crutches and in a boot for another couple of weeks. We’ll gradually ween him back to low bearing on that foot.

"We want to take an opportunity now to really let that heal and make sure that he has an uninterrupted run during pre-season."

Misson said McDonald was the Demons' only player to have post-season surgery.

"Tom's actually having a scope on both ankles, so he's had his right one done last week and the left one will be done at the end of next week," Misson said.

"So, that's just a typical arthroscope for the ankle – just cleaning up some bone spurs, so we expect that he'll be back in full training before Christmas hopefully."

The Demons are confident star forward Jesse Hogan will be ready to start pre-season training in November after a physically and emotionally challenging year.

Hogan injured his hamstring before half-time in the game against the Magpies, adding to the list of injuries and ailments he had to battle through in 2017.

The star forward lost his father Tony to cancer, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May, broke his collarbone in round 19 and then suffered the hamstring injury in a year he was only able to play 10 games.  

"With Jesse, our program for the first three weeks is an active rest period anyway, so that’ll allow that hamstring to essentially heal," Misson said.

"He'll really just go into a normal off-season program, so that’ll be OK."