Carlton defender Caleb Marchbank is looking unlikely to line up against Richmond in the 2019 season opener.
Marchbank had an injury-interrupted year in 2018, and Director of High Performance Andrew Russell confirmed that despite his positive progress, the woes are set to continue into this season.
“Marchbank is progressing really well, he’s back into skills work,” Russell told Carlton’s official website.
“He’s in a preparation phase where he’s getting in some high-end conditioning and we expect him to be ready somewhere early in the season.
However, captain Marc Murphy will be available for selection for Thursday’s JLT Community Series clash with Essendon on Thursday.
He came off the ground late in Carlton’s practice match against Hawthorn with his knee iced, but Russell has no concerns about his fitness.
“Marc Murphy came off the ground late in the game against Hawthorn,” Russell told Carlton’s official website.
“He trained fully the next day and did a full training session today.
“He’s ready to go this week, there were no issues whatsoever with him.”
Collingwood recruit Alex Fasolo could also feature before the home-and-away season, thanks to his commitment to his rehabilitation after breaking his wrist in January.
Ruckman Matthew Kreuzer is also likely to feature in the JLT series after recovering well after back surgery in January.
The Blues take on the Tigers in the traditional season opener on March 21 at the MCG.