RICHMOND'S blow of losing star recruit Chris Yarran for six weeks has been softened by the likelihood key playmaker Shane Edwards will be fit for the blockbuster season-opener against Carlton.
Yarran will be sent for surgery early next week to repair plantar fascia tissue damage in his left foot, but Edwards is on track to recover from a sore shoulder in time to face the Blues.
The 27-year-old appeared to have suffered serious damage when he left Etihad Stadium in a sling during Richmond's final NAB Challenge hit-out against Port Adelaide, however, Edwards escaped with only severe bruising and nerve swelling.
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"My understanding is that he is (likely to play round one)," Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said on Friday.
"I don't think there's any long-term injury. He got a knock that flared-up some pain and inflammation and nerve issues, but our expectation is that he'll train fully next week and he'll be available."
Edwards' expected availability is a huge relief for the Tigers, who are unlikely to see Yarran until at least round six.
Gale said his understanding was the 25-year-old, who was traded to the Tigers for pick 19 in last year's draft, didn't arrive at Punt Road with the foot complaint and didn't aggravate the issue by pushing to be fit for an unlikely round one debut.
Yarran played 45 minutes in a practice match last week and completed extra training afterwards in his bid to regain match fitness after a niggling calf complaint.
"It evolved over a few weeks, so it wasn't one specific incident," Gale said of Yarran's foot injury.
"Chris didn't come back at the start of pre-season as prepared as we would've liked, and we addressed that.
"He finally got in a position where he was engaging in full training, and had been for about four-to-six weeks, and had been looking very, very good.
"But at the same time this particular injury grumbled and gradually got worse."
Yarran played 119 games for the Blues before off-field issues and indifferent form prompted him to seek out a fresh start, and Gale felt for the speedster following his latest setback.
"There's nothing worse than being injured at a footy club and in the rehab group," Gale said.
"You feel disengaged and isolated … particularly when you come to a new club. You want to get involved and get out there amongst it and Chris hasn't been able to do either really until the last few weeks."