Lever in great shape, but no point risking him: Jones

SEN - Thu, 23rd May 2019 - 0 Comments

Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones reckons star defender Jake Lever will make his long-awaited return for the Demons within the next few weeks, assuming everything goes to plan.

Lever played his first game in 11 months last weekend when he lined up for Casey in the VFL.

The 23-year-old said post-game that he is aiming to play for Melbourne in its Round 11 clash against his former side Adelaide.

"It's dependent on how he goes, really, but it's obviously the really final stages of his rehab," Jones told SEN Breakfast.

"There's probably no point risking him at AFL level at this point; he only played about 60 per cent game time in the VFL last week; it's just getting that match conditioning up to scratch.

"As far as general conditioning, he's in terrific shape and pretty much ready to go. A week or two in what my perspective would be, but I guess that's with everything going well."

Playing on reduced minutes, Lever was relatively quiet, finishing with seven touches, although he did take one of his customary intercept marks early in the match.

He admitted to feeling nervous pre-game.

"I was a little nervous before the game, just having not played for so long," Lever told the melbournefc.com.au.

"Once I got out there and got involved in my first contest, I was ready to go and blew off a couple of cobwebs.

"It's just positive being out there and getting that one of out of the way, and hopefully moving onto next week."

Pleasingly, Lever said he pulled up well.

"The body feels good," Lever said.

"I was on restricted minutes today, so it will probably be my first full game that will be the test.

"I ran under a couple of balls and didn't time spoils like I normally would, but I think that's going to come back with time.

"I probably personally let myself down in the last quarter, but it was just great to be back playing."

Lever hopes to play a full game for Casey when they meet Williamstown on Sunday.