SYDNEY superstar Lance Franklin is back into full running after his off-season knee injury, with the Swans confident he will be ready to play once games resume.
The break between games could also put the champion forward back in the race to reach the magical 1000-goal milestone in 2020.
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The 33-year-old had enjoyed a strong start to his pre-season before requiring a knee arthroscope in January that saw him ruled out of the start of the season.
The Swans had no set date in mind for his comeback, but the coronavirus-enforced shutdown of the competition has given Franklin more time to recover from the injury.
Sydney's general manager of football Charlie Gardiner said the proposed training block before games resume – potentially in July – would be crucial to Franklin being ready to run out for its next appearance.
"He was getting back to skills training at round one. He's back in full running and completing all of his fitness work, but what he's probably missed is the competitive training. He can't get that in the current shutdown scenario but he's doing all the fitness work," Gardiner told AFL.com.au.
"That ramp-up period will be really important to get that competitive training into him. We're not sure how long we're going to get but it sounds like it will be a pretty short intense ramp-up period once we get news of the restart so that will be important for him.
"I'm confident he'll be close to full fitness by the time we restart."
Franklin was considered unlikely to be available in the first month of the home and away season, with the club taking a cautious approach for the two-time premiership forward's return.
Gardiner said it was a small silver lining to the AFL's halt of the season that Franklin would miss fewer games having enjoyed an excellent start to the Swans' pre-season prior to the Christmas break.
"He was training all of December and we were managing him. He was feeling really good. He was doing everything we wanted him to do and was ready to have a big January," he said.
"Unfortunately he had the setback over the New Year period and missed a chunk, but he's shown previously he's been able to get back from these types of setbacks successfully. We've got full confidence he'll get back and we'll see him back to his best this year."
The injury had all but ruled Franklin out of this year becoming the sixth player in AFL/VFL history to reach the 1000-goal mark.
But the unprecedented COVID-19 lockdown means Franklin may not miss any more games with the injury.
He has booted 944 goals across his amazing 16-year career, needing another 56 to reach the milestone.
The abbreviated season, as well as shorter quarters, would add an extra difficulty for Franklin to achieve it this year.
He has averaged 3.08 goals per game with the Swans.
Franklin would need to lift that average to 3.5 in 2020 if he was to play out the home and away season and join the likes of all-time greats Tony Lockett, Jason Dunstall and Gary Ablett Sr. in the 1000-club.