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Jack Darling inching closer to return

Jack Darling of the Eagles in action during the West Coast Eagles training session at Patersons Stadium, Perth on December 12, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jack Darling could return in as soon as three weeks, coach Adam Simpson says

WEST Coast key forward Jack Darling could be available for selection in three weeks, coach Adam Simpson says.

Darling has been undergoing a painfully slow rehabilitation from a foot stress fracture he suffered in round 23 last year.

The 22-year-old has scarcely trained over the pre-season and been held back as the Eagles try to ensure the bone in his foot heals properly before he returns to play.

Darling was out on Domain Stadium on Monday afternoon as the Eagles went through a very light stationary skills sessions. The key forward trained away from the main group at the Subiaco end of the ground.

He went through a serious of leads and marks at a lower intensity with several changes of direction involved. He also practised goalkicking from various spots on the ground.

Simpson would not normally appear on the track at a stationary skills session but came out from his office to see how Darling was progressing and he told 6PR on Monday night he was encouraged by what he saw.

"He's still running off his own program but he's running and he's kicking and he's probably just about ready to come into skills next week," Simpson said.

"So I would've thought he probably needs another two or three weeks of training and get that base up, and then hopefully we've got a decision to make whether we bring him straight back in or we get him through at a lower level.

"At the moment he's tracking exactly where we want him to in terms of his progress.

"There hasn't been any hiccups for probably two months now. So fingers crossed on that one."

Simpson was a little less optimistic about Scott Selwood's chances of playing against Fremantle on Sunday. The Eagles' vice-captain missed the win over Carlton last Friday due to soreness in his ankle and Simpson said he is in doubt.

"We'll find out probably later in the week," Simpson said.

"He'll be touch and go. Fingers crossed, he's responded pretty well. It's just a delicate area his foot. He's come off a couple of operations over the break, albeit it's a different area around his ankle, it's still around that area.

"So we're really cautious and we won't be taking any risks if he's not right."