Dan McStay celebrates a goal during the preliminary final between Collingwood and GWS at the MCG on September 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD forward Dan McStay will play limited minutes in the VFL just eight months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at training.

Fellow goalkicking ace Jamie Elliott is likely to be included for the Magpies' crucial clash with Geelong on Friday night if he pulls up well following training after dealing with a niggling vascular issue for two months.

McStay, who missed the Pies' Grand Final win last year due to a separate knee injury, was given a rousing reception by teammates at training on Wednesday after being a confirmed inclusion for the club's VFL team.

An ACL injury generally rules AFL players out for 12 months, but McStay will be back out there in less than nine.

His comeback game against the Cats will be at the same ground - Victoria Park - where he suffered the serious injury in December.

Despite Collingwood struggling with injuries to forwards - most recently to Brody Mihocek - coach Craig McRae has resisted the temptation to rush McStay straight back in at AFL level.

"He's been out for eight months and it's a great testament to how hard he's worked to get to get his chance to come back and play," McRae said.

"At AFL level you can't compromise ... if we want him to play a certain amount of minutes and then come off and get some treatment.

"Funnily enough for the last two months I've thought 'geez, he looks like he's ready to play'.

"He's so strong and it's a testament to our high performance team ... I know he set himself up incredibly well."


Elliott hasn't played since the Magpies' round nine win against Carlton and his expected presence will be important.

"He looks like he's fit and ready to go," McRae said of Elliott.

"If training form is anything to go by it's going to be hard not to pick him."

Jamie Elliott during a Collingwood training session at Olympic Park Oval on July 3, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Veteran swingman Jeremy Howe experienced some hamstring tightness at training on Monday and is unlikely to face Geelong.

The 34-year-old failed to complete Wednesday's session, with McRae all but ruling him out.

"I haven't got the latest update but it'd be unlikely he plays," McRae said.