THREE months on from shoulder surgery following a Mad Monday mishap, Sydney co-captain Callum Mills is bent on slashing his time on the sidelines.
Having been confined to an arm sling for a month, Mills was free to hit the track on Monday during the Swans' pre-season camp in Coffs Harbour and trained in non-contact drills.
The 26-year-old underwent surgery last September after damaging the rotator cuff in his left shoulder while wrestling teammate Jacob Konstanty at the club's post-season drinks.
Mills was estimated, at worst, to make a return midway through the 2024 season but teammate Isaac Heeney says the co-captain has ambitious plans.
"He's dominating his rehab ... he's doing everything he can and more so it'd be interesting to see if he can bring it forward," Heeney said on Monday.
"I'm not sure how much of a timeframe he can bring it forward but he's definitely pushing."
Questions were asked about Mills' position as captain after the incident, but the Swans have since backed the midfielder.
"He's not someone that (would) let a little mishap control him in any way and he's one of the toughest people I've ever met – one of the best leaders I've met," Heeney said.
"This is just a little hurdle and it's going to make him a better person, a better player.
"The way he's come out and he's handling things is no surprise to me. I don't know if it's a surprise to anyone either obviously."
The Swans are healthy ahead of their showdown with Melbourne in March, with Mills as their only long-term injury concern.
With new recruits Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, James Jordon and Joel Hamling, Sydney is hoping to usher in a new era after Lance Franklin retired last season.
"It's been different. A lot of the focus has been shifted off him (Franklin) and shared throughout the team which has been nice," Heeney said.
"We miss him being around but he's in that new chapter now and we're in a new chapter as well."