STAR Hawthorn recruit Tom Scully is back running in his recovery from a serious right ankle injury suffered playing for Greater Western Sydney in March this year.
The Hawks sent just a 2019 fourth-round pick to the Giants in exchange for Scully in October, with his trade value suffering from the severity of the setback and doubt on his ability to return to his best.
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GWS' salary cap problems also played a role in the bargain deal for a player twice shortlisted for All Australian honours.
Hawthorn football boss Graham Wright said at the time the club was planning for Scully to resume jogging in about five or six weeks.
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His latest progress at the Hawks' pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast is in line with that.
Scully fractured the fibula in that ankle and suffered a syndesmosis injury in a painful double blow as Magpie Callum Brown tackled him in the teams' round two clash.
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The 27-year-old midfielder was originally expected to be sidelined for about 12 weeks, but the problem lingered and Scully had a "setback" that saw him reduce his training loads.
GWS announced Scully's season was over in early August.
Cartilage damage rather than the bone break is what has complicated the healing process.
The former Giant and Demon, who has played 152 matches, is best known for his elite aerobic capacity and is considered the AFL's best two-way runner.
Scully has not set an exact timeframe to return to playing, but hopes to be back on the field for Hawthorn next year.
"The ankle's feeling OK at the moment," Scully said in early December.
"I'm going to start some light loading this week (and) everything's on track. It's going to be a long process, but one I'm confident that I can get right.
"Obviously, the Hawks are really confident as well that, managed well, I can be back playing footy next year, which is my ultimate aim."
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