ST KILDA recruit Nathan Freeman will not feature in the NAB Challenge as the Saints take a conservative path with the midfielder's recovery from hamstring troubles.
Freeman, who was repeatedly sidelined in his two years at Collingwood, strained his right hamstring again in December during his first summer with the Saints.
The club says he could be available to join full training within the next two weeks, but taking the next step and playing NAB Challenge matches is not part of his plan.
"We won't see him in the NAB Challenge," coach Alan Richardson told SEN on Tuesday.
"We're going to be really conservative. He's a young man who hasn't played footy for a couple of years.
"He possibly could play but we just need to make sure we get really significant miles into his legs so when the load really steps up he's right to go and he's not at risk."
Recruited with pick No.10 at the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, Freeman left the Magpies in search of a fresh start, partly due to the fitness troubles he had suffered at the Holden Centre.
The Saints hope his pace will eventually complement inside ball-winners like David Armitage, Jack Steven, Seb Ross and Luke Dunstan.