FREMANTLE superstar Nat Fyfe will have surgery in a bid to overcome a niggling elbow injury, but the Dockers expect him to be fit to play at least one game in the JLT Community Series.
Fyfe wore a black NBA/NFL-style 'shooting sleeve' in Friday night's realestate.com.au AFLX tournament, something the Team Flyers captain later said he could continue to wear in the home and away season to safeguard his elbow.
However, Dockers football manager Peter Bell told Perth radio station 6PR on Saturday Fyfe would have surgery on a troublesome bursa in his elbow, which he's had drained several times.
"You don't make a decision to send someone off for surgery flippantly, but he got a knock on it a couple of weeks ago and it did swell up," Bell said.
"He said it was really painful and when Nat Fyfe says something's painful … he's the guy that played with a broken leg for a game a few years ago for a quarter or so and played really well, so he's obviously got a really high pain threshold.
"I wouldn't think [his recovery] would be getting into the weeks, I think he would be back into full training really, really quickly and then we'll just manage with how he comes through that.
"Whether he's (ready for) JLT one or JLT two, we're confident he'll be playing a major part in the pre-season games."
On Friday night, Fyfe said part of the reason why he wore the sleeve was to pay homage to legendary New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
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But the sleeve also had a more practical use with the gun midfielder dealing with an inflamed bursa in his elbow.
"I guess we'll never know the ratios but I have started wearing it as a bit of protection and felt it has given me some good comfort and support," Fyfe said when fronting the media after the night.
"It was something a bit different."
Fyfe, though, was quick to allay fears the injury was not too serious.
"It's seriously fine. Everyone has these sacs of fluid in their elbow and every now and then they flare up so it's fine," he said.
Fyfe remained tight-lipped on his program across the JLT Community Series, but said he had already mapped out what his pre-season looked like ahead of a round one clash with North Melbourne.
The Dockers will face Collingwood on March 4 in Joondalup before a clash with West Coast on March 10 at Rushton Park in Mandurah during the JLT.
Wearing an Oakland Raiders beanie, a baggy black t-shirt and with sunglasses sitting on the 'V' of his chest, Fyfe told the media he would like to see the AFLX concept continue beyond this year.
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"I think we saw with the buy-in from the players that got involved this concept has legs and it doesn't in any way take away from regular season footy," Fyfe said.
"It's designed to be fun and to complement the game, so I think it potentially has a future."