HAWTHORN skipper Luke Hodge is eyeing off a round 14 return from a knee injury.
The four-time premiership Hawk has been sidelined since round six after undergoing surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his knee.
The 31-year-old is currently completing a three-week mini pre-season and did a two-hour running training session on Saturday morning with injury-plagued teammate Alex Woodward and rookie ruckman Luke Surman.
Despite feeling as though he could play next week against Essendon, or the week after against North Melbourne, Hodge said he would take the time to build his match fitness.
"At this stage, it'll be round 14," Hodge told the president's lunch at the MCG on Saturday.
"Probably body-wise and injury-wise I could play next week or the week after but I found out after 2012, if you rush back too early you may not have the impact you want so.
"So a mini pre-season means I'll get three good weeks of work and then down to Tassie where we play Gold Coast, which is round 14. I'm looking forward to it."
Hodge has only played four games this season, after breaking his arm in the round one loss to Geelong.
His injury-ridden first half of the season has prompted speculation about his future in the game, but Hodge said his main focus at the moment was finding form in the second half of the season.
"We'll take it one season at a time," he said.
"There's been a lot of questions about [my future]. The situation all footy clubs are in are there's a lot of older players and you have to suss out how the list looks at the end of the year. I just want to get back to playing good footy and the rest will take care of itself."
Alex Woodward, who has had three right knee reconstructions, is also making good progress in his comeback.
The midfielder set to return to competitive football in round 14 as well, albeit in the VFL for Box Hill.