A TIMEFRAME on Jesse Hogan's return to playing remains unclear, but Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir expects the key forward to be back at the club when training recommences.
Hogan took leave away from the Dockers in February to deal with his mental health, after a first season at the club where he was restricted to 12 games due to a serious foot injury.
The first-year coach, who took over the reins at the Dockers after the sacking of Ross Lyon last year, said Hogan would need time to get his fitness to the levels required before being ready to get back on the field, even with the coronavirus-enforced break between games.
"It's too early to say to be honest about (Hogan) being ready to play (when the season returns)," Longmuir told SEN.
"But I think he'd be ready to come back and join the footy club in some aspect. He missed a lot of pre-season with his foot injury that he sustained last year.
"He's still got a body of work to do to get physically up to AFL footy but the most positive thing to come out of this that Jesse is healthy and wants to be part of the footy club and invest in the connection we're trying to build.
"His mental wellbeing has always been front of our mind and that will continue to be the case."
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Hogan was traded to Fremantle at the end of 2018 after 71 games and 152 goals for the Demons. He had established himself as one of the premier young key forwards in the game before his foot issues struck.
Longmuir said he had caught up with the 25-year-old recently.
"Early days it was probably more (Fremantle football manager) Peter Bell (who kept in contact) as they've got a really strong relationship and have open and honest communication," Longmuir said.
"I left it to 'Belly' in the early stages but in the last couple of weeks I've had some communication with Jesse and caught up with him a couple times and he seems in a really good frame of mind first and foremost, which is our No.1 aim as a footy club.
"But he also looked really fit and healthy so it's all positive at the moment. He's obviously training by himself and still has a lot of hurdles to get over but the signs are good at the moment."
The Dockers lost Longmuir's debut game as coach to Essendon in round one, falling six points short at Marvel Stadium after a strong finish.
Longmuir said if returning to Victoria for a longer stint as part of an 18-club hub to get games underway was necessary to kickstart the season, he would be in favour of the move.
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"I just want to get us back to playing footy so however that happens as a footy club we'll negotiate the difficulties of that," he said.
"The Victorian thing makes a lot of sense given there's 10 teams from that region and the resources in Victoria for footy are greater than any other state. If you were going to house all 18 clubs that would be the place to do it."