GEELONG midfielder Sam Menegola could return early in the season after scans revealed he does not need surgery on his sore left knee.
Menegola suffered the injury to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Cats' opening NAB Challenge game against Collingwood.
"This is a minor setback for Sam. He has shown resilience through his career and has shown the ability to bounce back from injury," Geelong football manager Steve Hocking said.
"Sam was playing well when he suffered this injury and we expect him to be back to that form when he returns."
The 24-year-old is yet to make his AFL debut, despite having been a rookie at Hawthorn in 2011 and at Fremantle in 2012-14.
The Cats picked him in the fifth round of last year's NAB AFL Draft.