COLLINGWOOD star Jeremy Howe is optimistic about joining pre-season training by late January as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
The Magpies' high-flying defender went under the knife soon after the Grand Final loss to West Coast but is back running and is determined to accelerate his return to full-contact work.
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"I'm six weeks post-op now and until I'm ticked off to play there's a 12 to 16-week recovery phase. I'll probably lean towards the 12, so maybe late Jan, early Feb I should be good to go," Howe told the Collingwood faithful at the club's annual member forum at the Holden Centre on Monday night.
"With a shoulder (problem) you can still run. It's going along as well as expected. It's not ideal to have it but at the same time I won't miss much of the pre-season.
"Pre-season can't come quick enough."
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Howe, a member of Collingwood's leadership group, won more fans late this season after overcoming considerable duress. He was sidelined for the last five rounds with a badly corked thigh that required surgery, and carried an ankle injury into the Grand Final, while also coping with the shoulder issue that was then unknown to the football public.
Pies football chief Geoff Walsh provided further detail on the European mission of hamstrung pair Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore, who, as reported on AFL.com.au on Monday, have travelled to Germany to receive treatment from world-renowned hamstring injury specialist, doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt.
"They're both healthy and fit at the moment, but given that this (treatment) has had success with players in the past (and) given that both of these boys have had a history of recurrences, we felt that this was something that we couldn't ignore," Walsh said.
"They left on Saturday and they'll be back at the end of next weekend and our doctor will have a full report for us, not only (on) potentially what the issues are but how we treat them and how we manage them going forward.
"Hopefully that's a bit of a watershed moment for both of those boys because they've missed a lot of footy, particularly Jamie."
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Livewire small forward Elliott didn't play a single AFL game this year, making just four intermittent VFL appearances, while key-position swingman Moore played only seven games.
Meanwhile, Collingwood chief executive officer Mark Anderson revealed youngster Sam Murray, provisionally suspended after failing a drug test in early August, could soon learn his fate.
"They're long processes. It hasn't yet been heard. It shifts constantly but a hearing could be possibly early next year. It's all we've got to go on at the moment," Anderson said.
The Pies will re-select Murray in next week's NAB AFL Rookie Draft if he is still available.
The club also announced it had brokered a new five-year deal to continue playing home games at the MCG.
Earlier on Monday, Collingwood's first-to-fourth-year players started their pre-season and will be joined by the rest of their teammates on December 3.