GARY Ablett is hopeful of returning for Gold Coast's round 13 match against Carlton and says coming back sooner would be a selfish act.
Ablett has also defended himself from criticism – particularly that of former Brisbane Lions skipper Jonathan Brown – questioning his hunger to play at less than 100 per cent.
The Suns captain has been sidelined since round two when he suffered complications to shoulder surgery he underwent last year.
"There's pain there. If it was as simple as just pain, then I'd be out there," Ablett said.
"I've had a few complications along the way and we are dealing with them now.
"I'm hoping I can be back first week after the bye."
Ablett said his shoulder was "not close to 100 per cent right" just yet, and he discussed with doctors weekly how to progress his training.
He has started doing contact work but will not play either the Sydney Swans on Saturday or Fremantle the following week.
"I really want to be out there with my teammates right now but I think it would be selfish of me to go out and play, the way my shoulder is at the moment," he said.
"I want to make sure that when I'm out there, I’m ready to go, and I can play my role for the team and have some kind of influence on the game."
Ablett said he was open to criticism, including that of Brown, but wanted the facts on the table.
"When those things aren’t backed by fact, that's a little bit disappointing," he said.
"I've been down to Melbourne (to see the doctors), taken anti-inflammatories … I'm doing everything I can to get right outside of taking pain killers and jabbing it up to play.
"I’ll continue to do what I'm doing.
"I've played 270-odd games, it's important for people to know that.
"Footy is not as easy game, in those games there's plenty of times when I've gone out and I haven’t felt close to 100 per cent."
Ablett admitted to rushing back for round one after having scar tissue removed from the shoulder six weeks prior to the season start.