NORTH Melbourne skipper Jack Ziebell concedes injuries to tall forwards Majak Daw and Ben Brown aren't ideal but remains hopeful the pair will be ready to play in the AFL pre-season competition.
North's key forward stocks took a hit in recent weeks with Daw and Brown undergoing knee operations.
After surgery in the second week of January, Daw is expected to return to full pre-season training in a month, while Brown is set to miss a fortnight after being operated on last week.
"It's not ideal but, in saying that, Benny is a pretty quick turnaround," Ziebell said.
"He won't miss a whole lot, which is good. We'll have him back training really soon and getting the work that he needs too.
"Majak's tracking really well (too). He's been at the club doing a fair bit of training recently, so I don't think it will set him back a whole lot.
"I'm sure they'll be right and ready to go when we need them."
Key defender Scott Thompson (adductor) and midfielder Sam Wright (ankle) have also had interrupted pre-seasons, undergoing minor surgery just before Christmas.
In better news for North, emerging tall forward Mason Wood hasn't missed a beat this pre-season after having his 2016 campaign cut short by a knee injury.
After a punishing season, the Roos are taking a cautious approach with star ruckman Todd Goldstein.
"Obviously, he's an important player for us ... they're just making sure he's 100 per cent fit and ready for round one," Ziebell said.
"He's getting managed a little bit through sessions, but that's no different from any other senior player in our team.
"When you get a little bit older, your body doesn't bounce back like it did when you were 18.
"He obviously didn't have his best year by his own standards but, knowing the competitor he is, he'll definitely bounce back."
The Kangaroos kick off their pre-season competition against Sydney on Sunday, February 19 in Coffs Harbour.
Ziebell will represent North on the field as the club's captain for the first time on Friday night, but it will be on a cricket pitch instead of a footy ground.
Ziebell, Nathan Hrovat, Lindsay Thomas, Kayne Turner and Sam Durdin will be part of a Kangaroos team who will take on Hawthorn in Launceston on Friday, with proceeds going to the Ricky Ponting Foundation.