HAWTHORN defender Grant Birchall's horror injury run has continued, with the star Hawk requiring a pre-Christmas arthroscope on his troublesome right knee.
Birchall hopes to be back running by the end of January, but already faces a race to be ready for round one after an abbreviated pre-season to date.
He was one of two Hawks, including Cyril Rioli, not to make the trip to Moe on Wednesday for a training session in the club's Next Generation Academy zone.
The 2012 All Australian underwent a posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on the knee in August after soreness and swelling persisted.
Birchall, who is weeks away from turning 30, hurt the knee in May against Melbourne, when he failed to make it to quarter-time in his first match back from a broken jaw.
He returned in round 14, but his season was over a week later.
The plan was for Birchall to be on a modified program up until Christmas before ramping up his preparations for the 2018 season in the new year.
"It was a really frustrating year for me last year," the four-time premiership player told the club's website.
"I went in for a PCL reconstruction a couple of games before the end of the season, and just before Christmas I went in for another arthroscope on my knee.
"(There was) a bit of crappy stuff and a bit of swelling in the front of my knee, so I went and cleaned that up and I'm feeling pretty good at the moment.
"It will probably be a couple of weeks out, but I'm glad it's done now – it needed to be done – so I'm on a modified program, and hopefully all being well I will be able to run towards the end of the month."