Sam Docherty in action during Carlton's clash against Gold Coast in round 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON expects Sam Docherty to return for pre-season training before Christmas, having undergone a minor procedure to repair a foot injury.

Docherty didn't require surgery on a dislocated shoulder that he played through during the club's exciting finals campaign, but recently underwent a post-season foot operation.

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But the Blues expect the experienced onballer to now return for summer duties in the two-week period before Christmas, while he is due to integrate back into full training by the time pre-season resumes in January.

Important wingman Blake Acres wasn't sent for surgery to repair a painful grade two collarbone sprain that he also battled bravely against throughout the club's finals campaign.

However, small forward Corey Durdin will have a delayed start to pre-season and is expected to return from a shoulder operation in January.

Zac Williams, meanwhile, is aiming to return to skills training after Christmas having missed the entire 2023 season with an ACL injury.


Carlton expects developing ruckman Alex Mirkov to be the only player unavailable for summer training through January, having undergone a procedure in June to repair a leaking aortic valve in his heart.

Mirkov continues to tick boxes in his recovery from the heart issue, while he will also need a significant conditioning block upon his return to running duties.