STAR West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has ticked off a significant milestone by running for the first time since surgery to repair his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
The 201cm big man completed some skips, short and sharp steps and jogged in a straight line for about 20m in encouraging signs on his long comeback trail.
Naitanui is aiming for a playing return late in the Eagles' 2017 campaign after damaging his left knee in round 22 last season against Hawthorn.
"The milestone really was to get outdoors, and to start jogging and getting into running, which I've started today, it's a slow progression but it's something," Naitanui told the club's website.
"(I felt) reasonably good. It was a bit weird, I haven't run since August when I did my knee.
"Like anything it will take a bit of time, but I think these next few weeks I'll be up and going and look back at today and think it was a little milestone."
Meanwhile, No.2 ruckman Scott Lycett continued his strong progress from a PCL reconstruction as he ran around the boundary at Wembley Sports Park.
The Eagles are hopeful Lycett will be fit around the time of their season opener against North Melbourne on March 26, but also brought in big man insurance in Drew Petrie and Nathan Vardy during the NAB AFL Trade Period.
"He's (Lycett) started doing a little bit more agility work … we won't rush him, we've got plenty of ruck stocks and over the trade and draft period we got some players in who can play that position," senior assistant coach Justin Longmuir said.
The Eagles' rehabilitation group is thinning ahead of next month's JLT Community Series opener against Fremantle.
Only Naitanui, Lycett and Simon Tunbridge – who had hybrid LARS surgery on his ACL last month – trained away from the main group during Saturday's session.
Meanwhile, dual Coleman medallist Josh Kennedy was back with the squad on Monday after having his workload managed before Christmas.
More than half of West Coast's squad clocked personal bests in a 2km time trial last week, and Longmuir said competition among the players was ramping up after last year's disappointing elimination final exit.
The Eagles sweated through a physical two-hour session as the mercury pushed 30 degrees on Monday, working on their ball movement out of defence and spread from stoppages.
Lewis Jetta was sharp in traffic, while a bruising tackle from skipper Shannon Hurn on Dom Sheed drew applause from his teammates.
Former Brisbane Lions midfielder Jack Redden covered plenty of territory in match simulation as he seeks to bounce back from an underwhelming first season in Perth hampered by injuries.
"I've been really impressed with the way he has applied himself," Longmuir said.
"He's run PB times both times we've run 2km (time trials) and that shows that he's really dedicated himself in his break to become a better footballer.
"We're not forgetting that he came to the footy club banged up – he missed all of the pre-season last year, so that was a really difficult time for him.
"At the moment, he's put every foot in the right direction and hopefully he can continue to do that."
Nic Nat aiming for a playing return late in the home and away campaign. pic.twitter.com/1sth3k6Ve0— Travis King (@TravisKing) January 9, 2017