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Demons unsure on Hogan return date

Jesse Hogan of the Demons in action during the 2014 NAB Challenge match between the Melbourne Demons and the Geelong Cats at TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs on February 28, 2014. (Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media)
Jesse Hogan's return date is still uncertain
MELBOURNE remains uncertain as to how long a stress reaction in the lower back will sideline young key forward Jesse Hogan.
 
Hogan was set to make his long awaited debut in the season opener against St Kilda but is now considered extremely doubtful to play in round one after suffering the injury during the NAB Challenge game against Geelong in Alice Springs last Friday.
 
The club has resolved to treat him conservatively and will not return him to training and playing until he is pain free.
 
Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney told melbournefc.com.au time was needed before an exact prognosis could be made.
 
"It’s difficult to put an exact time frame on his return because it’s all based on his ability to respond to treatment and rehabilitation," Mahoney said. "Early signs are positive and he could potentially still play in two to three weeks or it could be longer; we just need to monitor him closely over the initial period and then a timeframe for his return will become clearer."
 
The Demons picked Hogan as a 17-year-old in the 2012 mini draft and he was ineligible to play senior football until 2014.
 
He kicked 39 goals in the VFL in 2013 and won the Casey Scorpions best and fairest and his form in the NAB Challenge had fans excited about his debut. Melbourne will also be without Mitch Clark in round one and Chris Dawes is battling to be fit for the encounter against St Kilda.