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Jack's back: Bulged disc to delay new Saint's pre-season

Draft prospect: Jack Bytel Watch highlights of 2018 NAB AFL Draft prospect Jack Bytel

ST KILDA draftee Jack Bytel will resume running in the new year as he continues recovering from a bulged disc in his back. 

The inside midfielder was drafted at pick No.41 in last Friday's NAB AFL Draft.

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Stress fractures in his back earlier this year forced him to the sidelines, but he returned for three games with Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and one with his TAC Cup club Calder Cannons. 

At half-time of that clash with the Oakleigh Chargers in July, a new injury was uncovered – the bulged disc. 

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He has joined fellow Saints recruit Max King in the rehab group, as he told reporters on Thursday. 

"I started jogging last week and working really close with the medical team. Probably post-Christmas and when I get back from the break, I should be hitting some solid running," Bytel said at RSEA Park.

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King had a knee reconstruction in April but he was so highly rated St Kilda nabbed him with the fourth selection.

He was completing laps, along with several others.

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Paddy McCartin, Dylan Roberton, Jarryn Geary, Dean Kent and Jimmy Webster did their running in a group.

In another batch was the other draftees: Matthew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young and Callum Wilkie. 

Key defender Jack Carlisle was also by himself as he continues his managed individual program, while Jack Steven and David Armitage didn't appear on the track.  

As of Thursday, King was seven months into his recovery and expects to join full training early in the new year.

"I'm running well and the agility's sort of getting there. I'm starting to kick with both legs," King said.

(L-R) Jack Bytel, Callum Wilkie, Max King, Matthew Parker, Robbie Young and Nick Hind. Picture: AFL Photos

There's no guarantee he will be fit for the start of next season but his return date is expected to be around that mark. 

Having spent two days a week at Moorabbin as part of his rehab made the transition to the club easier.

"You meet a lot of people and you become familiar with the facility. It definitely helped me get settled in," King said.

Coming to the same team as close mate Bytel meant there was another friendly face around. Bytel has moved in with the Kings, who live just minutes away from the club. 

Parker has come over from Western Australia and is living with onballer Luke Dunstan, South Australian Young is rooming with Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield and rookie Doulton Langlands while Wilkie has joined Jack Billings and Ben Paton. 

All the draftees toured the facility last Sunday and began training the following day.