Injured ruckman Hamish McIntosh training with the Cats over summer
GEELONG ruckman Hamish McIntosh has suffered another injury setback, with an ankle problem now delaying his first competitive hit-out with the Cats.
McIntosh, who joined the club from North Melbourne during last year's trade period, was restricted by knee and Achilles issues over the summer.
Having done a power of work on the track during May, he was hoping to return via the VFL this month.
But the 28-year-old's comeback plans have been placed on hold yet again.
"His knee is really good," Geelong physio Mike Snelling told CatsTV. "His Achilles is really good as well. Unfortunately he's had this ankle irritation that's taking a bit for us to get on top of.
"We've tried a couple of different interventions, but he's still having a little bit of a niggle in that ankle.
"We don't think it's going to be that bad, and we're hoping we can get on top of it in the next few days to a week and then get him back out and get some more training into him.
"So he's still a work in progress, unfortunately."
Paul Chapman is another Geelong veteran who is struggling to shake off an injury.
Chapman, whose performances in previous seasons means he is still No. 32 in the Official AFL Player Ratings
, has been sidelined by hamstring soreness since round four, and he won't be back in the team anytime soon.
"He's had two weeks where he's done very little leg-loading," Snelling said. "So he's had a bit of rest, and we've got to now assess him as to whether we push him on.
"He's going to do a little bit more this week, but he's certainly a few weeks away from coming back to play."
In better news for the Cats, midfielder Taylor Hunt, who broke his collarbone against Essendon in round seven, has been declared fit for this weekend's clash with the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.
"He's ready," Snelling said. "The bye came at a really good time. He's been able to do a lot of training, he's doing some contact training, and hopefully we should see him this week."
Steve Johnson and Allen Christensen, who were both concussed after colliding during Geelong's round 11 match against Greater Western Sydney, are also back to full fitness.
"Thankfully that wasn't too bad," Snelling said. "They were pretty good even after the game.
"They've recovered fully, so they're up and running and training and we should expect them to be available this week."
Defender Jared Rivers, who hasn't played since injuring his knee in round five, remains at least a couple of weeks away from a return.
"He's running and starting to do a little bit of training, so he's just got to increase that training load out on the track," Snelling said.
"Once we know he's comfortable with that, then we'll start considering him for games."
Travis Varcoe (shoulder) is also around a month away from being declared fit to play, while George Burbury (quad), Josh Cowan (hamstring) and Jackson Sheringham (shoulder, hamstring) will be sidelined for another two to three weeks.
However, George Horlin-Smith (quad) is on the verge of returning.
"He's done a fair bit of running, so he's got to train heavily this week," Snelling said.
"We've got to do some good speed training with him to protect him from other injuries. He may be thereabouts this week or the week after."
Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol