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Geelong confident on injury-plagued youngster

Chiocci banned, Giant elevations, JLT teams Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards with Monday Footy Feed

GEELONG is confident forward Nakia Cockatoo's calf injury will not hinder his preparations for round one.

Cockatoo did not play for the Cats in Sunday's JLT Community Series clash against Gold Coast in Townsville, instead staying back in Geelong to complete a session of training with the rest of the rehab group.

The explosive forward suffered the minor injury less than two weeks ago at training and will slowly build up his program over the coming weeks according to Cats football manager Simon Lloyd. 

"Nakia was running freely today (in Geelong)," Lloyd told K Rock radio on Sunday.

"He wasn't involved in (full) training today, but he was actually doing a lot of high speed running and moving well."

Cockatoo has had a history of soft tissue injuries and hurt his hamstring on three separate occasions in 2017, restricting him to just 11 senior matches.

Meanwhile, star midfielder Gary Ablett (hamstring) remains on track for round one and is slowly increasing his training program.

"He's basically training alternate days and he did six or seven kilometres (Sunday) and reached some high speed with his running," Lloyd said.

"It was just very minor but we're doing everything we can to get him right … there isn't much to worry about."

After a 56-point hiding at the hands of the Suns on Sunday, the Cats are set to welcome back star midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, as well as key defender Harry Taylor, for next Sunday's pre-season match against Essendon in Colac.

A decision on whether Ablett will play against the Bombers is something the Cats are continuing to weigh up, given that he has completed the majority of training sessions over pre-season.

"It's whether or not we've got Gary ready for round one through that (training) or whether we need to expose him in Colac," Lloyd said.

"We're still making those decisions and that'll be something we weigh up later in the week."

The Cats also have the option of playing Ablett or other senior-listed players in a VFL practice match against Werribee at GMHBA Stadium on March 16.

Star defender Lachie Henderson (knee) is still on track to return some time between rounds one and four, while Scott Selwood (ankle) is on a similar timeframe.