INJURY-CURSED Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson is set to re-sign with the club and complete most of the pre-season as he bids to play senior football for the first time since the 2012 premiership.
Johnson, 24, has had five knee reconstructions and battled infection in the joint following his surgeries, but finally looks to be on track to return to the field next season.
In September he ran on solid ground for the first time in 906 days.
Johnson's manager, Nick Gieschen of TLA, told NAB Trade Radio that Johnson had helped coach the Swans' reserves team. They fell four points short of Greater Western Sydney's NEAFL side in the decider.
"He'll be contracted next year. (The Swans) are really excited about getting him back," Gieschen said.
"He should be available to hopefully do the majority of the pre-season and push for selection in the early part of the season."
As a 20-year-old in the Swans' most recent flag, Johnson was considered one of the Swans' best young players.
If he returns to the senior team, he would be the first player to have overcome five knee reconstructions to play AFL.
Geelong's Daniel Menzel went through four knee reconstructions before returning to the senior team at the end of last year and managing 18 matches this season.
Johnson told AFL.com.au in September he was optimistic about his prospects.
"I'll just see how everything progresses, but my goal is definitely to be playing senior footy next year at some point," Johnson said.
"The knee has never felt better. I've got great leg strength, no swelling, and everything is progressing in the right direction.
"I'll look to train through when the season finishes and get a fair few kilometres into the legs.
"To come back in good nick when pre-season begins would be ideal, because then I can do the majority of the running with the boys."