Carlton says Sam Docherty is “still a chance” to play in round one of the AFL season, with the former Blues co-captain making significant progress after undergoing chemotherapy last year to treat testicular cancer for the second time.
- Docherty may play a preseason match against the Demons next week
- The Blues says it will be a “huge spiritual boost” if Docherty is available in the opening round
- Harry McKay is on the sidelines with a foot injury
Docherty had 12 weeks of chemotherapy after a recurrence of testicular cancer was found last August.
He stepped down as Blues co-captain last month to focus on his recovery.
The 28-year-old may play in the Blues’ preseason match against Melbourne on Thursday week.
Beyond the preseason, senior Blues assistant coach Ash Hansen said Docherty could be available for the opening-round match against Richmond on March 17.
“He’s ahead of where we expected him to be, and maybe that contributed to a little calf [injury] he suffered, but he’s responded well from that and is still a chance for round one,” Hansen said.
Hansen said the Blues squad had been inspired by Docherty.
“It certainly gives you a sense of gratitude for your own health and puts into perspective footy in general when a player like him has gone through so much,” he said.
Coleman medallist Harry McKay is the latest Blues star to be added to the club’s injury list, with the key forward in doubt to face the Tigers in the first round.
McKay is struggling with a foot injury, joining best-and-fairest winner Sam Walsh (ankle) on the sidelines.
“This time of year you certainly have an individualised approached to everyone’s program with the focus and priority being round one,” Hansen said.
McKay is coming off a career-best season, kicking 58 goals from 19 matches last year.
Walsh will miss at least the four rounds of the 2022 season.
He had surgery last week and is wearing a moon boot to recover from the first major injury setback of his promising career.
The Blues will assess Walsh’s fitness after the first month of the season before making a call about when the 21-year-old can return.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC