Tom Scully admits he has a long road ahead before he can return to top-level footy.
The hard-running midfielder made his way from GWS to Hawthorn in the trade period but is no certainty to play for his new club in 2019.
Scully, 27, seriously injured his ankle against Collingwood at the MCG in Round 2 this year and although the target is to don the brown and gold at some point next season, plenty of water must pass under the bridge in order to continue his 152-game career.
“The ankle’s feeling OK at the moment,” he told reporters at Xavier College.
“I’m going to start some light loading this week, everything’s on track. It’s going to be a long process.
“Obviously, the Hawks are really confident as well that I can be back playing footy next year, which is my ultimate aim.”
The former Demon and Giant added: “I’ve been reassured it’s heading in the right direction and I’ve had some positive results of late.
“If anything, (the medical) actually reassured me they’re confident they can get my ankle right and for me that was a big thing.
“Obviously, there’s an element of risk for everyone involved here, but as I said, it’s not all doom and gloom – I’m pretty confident.”
After fracturing his fibula and suffering a syndesmosis injury, Scully has undergone two lots of surgery – the latest bout being two months ago to remove a plate and screws from his ankle.