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Niggling back injury sidelines important Dee

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Dean Kent of the Demons handballs during a Melbourne Demons AFL pre-season training session at Gosch's Paddock on November 7, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Dean Kent has been sidelined with a back complaint

MELBOURNE forward Dean Kent has been laid low by a niggling back issue that is set to keep him in modified training for the next month.

The speedy forward suffered a setback in his training before the Christmas break and has been eased back into training with the rehab group over the past few weeks.

Demons fitness boss Dave Misson said the club was hopeful Kent would be available for some part of the JLT Community Series.

"Just before we broke for Christmas, Kenty had a flare up in his back," Misson told the club's website.

"He's had some of that (back tightness) previously during the season, so we just want to use the time now to settle it down.

"It'll probably take another month to get him back ready to play again.

"Hopefully he'll be ready to take part in the pre-season series."

Kent's speed up forward, defensive pressure and aggressive nature are vital parts of Melbourne's forward structure.

The 22-year-old, who signed a new two-year deal until the end of 2018 last year, booted 25 goals in 2016 – behind only Jesse Hogan (41), Jack Watts (38) and Jeff Garlett (29).

In positive news for Melbourne, reigning best and fairest winner Jack Viney and key off-season recruit Michael Hibberd are back in full training.

Viney had hip surgery in the off-season, while Hibberd had a knee issue prior to Christmas.

Tom McDonald and Cameron Pedersen, who had clean-ups on shoulder complaints after the 2016 season, are days away from returning to full contact training.

Both have completed most of the training over the last couple of weeks, but are nearing being ticked off to join the main group in all the drills.

Key midfielder Dom Tyson, who dislocated his patella tendon at Melbourne's army-style pre-Christmas camp, is back running on grass and will look to increase his workload over the coming weeks.

Christian Salem, who suffered a concussion after being hit by a brick that fell out of his backpack on the same camp, will resume full training on Friday.

"Based on the fact Christian had a couple of concussions during last year and he got one on the camp, he's been 'no contact' since then," Misson said.

"But he'll come back into full contact on Friday."

Young ruckman Mitch King joined the main group on Monday for the first time since rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last April and Misson said he was progressing well.

Fellow youngsters Mitch Hannan (shoulder) and Lachlan Filipovic (shoulder) remain on light duties.

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