Will Ashcroft in action during Brisbane's clash with Melbourne in round 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

WILL Ashcroft has taken another step towards returning to play, kicking the footy with his Brisbane teammates on Wednesday for the first time since rupturing his ACL last July.

Brisbane is reluctant to put a hard timeline on Ashcroft's return, but is hopeful of seeing him play again in the next eight to 10 weeks as his training ramps up.

Ashcroft suffered his injury against Geelong on July 22 last season.

MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list

He was the first of five Brisbane players to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments, with Darcy Gardiner and Lincoln McCarthy the latest to suffer that fate at the weekend, joining Keidean Coleman and Tom Doedee.

Lions football manager Danny Daly said Ashcroft was taking "small steps", but the light was now there for him to see at the end of a long rehab tunnel.

"He's in a good headspace and ticking all the boxes," Daly told AFL.com.au.

"He's had his challenges, but I think he knows he's in on the home stretch now."

Ashcroft's return would be a timely boost for the Lions who, at 3-5, would hope to be pushing for finals by the time their star 20-year-old is available.


Zac Bailey (ankle) is expected to return in the next two to three weeks, while Brandon Starcevich is a month away with a calf injury.

Daly said the club's search for any correlation between its ACL injuries was well underway.

Stadiums Queensland, which runs the Gabba, has already been in touch with the club to provide information about the surface the past few years.

Brisbane's high-performance team has already begun investigating its approach.

Daly said the injuries were likely to be bad luck, but the club would do everything possible to rule out other factors.