CARLTON star Marc Murphy is on track to play in the NAB Challenge after successful follow-up surgery on his troublesome left shoulder.
The Blues skipper had his shoulder reconstructed late last season, but was sent back for more surgery in December after feeling some discomfort at training.
Murphy has been on a modified pre-season workload since, but in positive news for Carlton fans the 28-year-old is on target to join in with the main group in the next few weeks.
"He's actually going really well. He had the shoulder surgery late last season and it was a bit slow to recover, so it was cleaned it out a month or so ago," Carlton head of football Andrew McKay told AFL.com.au.
"He just went and had another (arthroscope), but it was all OK, they just closed it back up, so it's made really good progression since then.
"He's doing running and conditioning at the moment. He'll transition into shadow skills in a week and then build up to full skills in the next few weeks.
"It's looking positive to get one or two NAB Challenge games into him and then obviously he'll be fine for round one."
The Blues' list is looking increasingly healthy heading towards the pre-season competition, which they kick-off against Hawthorn in Launceston on February 18.
Injury-plagued stars Matthew Kreuzer and Dale Thomas have surged through pre-season without a hiccup, while spearhead Levi Casboult (knee) has started joining in some skills training at Ikon Park.
Casboult underwent posterior cruciate ligament surgery on his right knee late last season, but the 199cm big man should be back in full training by the end of next week.
"He tickled up his knee obviously late last year and hurt his meniscus in the off-season a little bit, so he had that trimmed up, but he's progressing well," McKay said.
"He's actually slightly ahead of schedule."
Meanwhile, recruit Lachie Plowman (hip) and veteran midfielder Dennis Armfield (broken arm) are making steady progress from their pre-season setbacks.
Plowman, 21, underwent surgery on his hip last month, which the Blues' medicos believe will help alleviate groin soreness that hampered the former No.3 draft pick at Greater Western Sydney.
"He's easing into parts of training – he's running on the Alter-G (anti-gravity treadmill) and getting going that way and doing a lot of cross-training," McKay said.
"He'll be right for round one, but if he plays NAB Challenge it will be back end of NAB Challenge."
Armfield broke his arm in round 15 against Richmond and was recovering slowly until a follow-up operation late last year improved the outlook for the 125-game veteran.
"They actually had to put a new plate in because it just wasn't healing at the rate we wanted it to," McKay said.
"He had a scan yesterday and he's got some good healing going on now. He's been running and keeping fit as a fiddle. He just hasn't been able to do ball work or weights on that arm, so he's easing back into that now."
In other news, rookie-listed Irishman Ciaran Sheehan, who missed all of last season due to osteitis pubis, is out of a moon boot and easing back into training after a small stress reaction in his foot was discovered during the club's Gold Coast camp in December.