GEELONG coach Chris Scott has leapt to the defence of midfielder Jack Steven who is closer to "days than weeks" in returning to the club after as he recovers from a stabbing on the weekend.
Steven was released from hospital on Tuesday after admitting himself to a Melbourne hospital following an incident in the early hours of Sunday morning.
With the Victoria Police investigation stretching into a fifth day, details around the incident and how it occurred remain unclear.
"My sense is that there's some feel that Jack might have some case to answer here," Scott said on Thursday.
"I haven't seen or heard any information that would imply that. It's clear that he was the victim of something quite serious that required hospitalisation.
"I think the priority should be his wellbeing and part of that should be his privacy as well."
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Steven remains firmly fixed in the Cats' plans for 2020 and is expected to return to the club in coming days.
"I'll speculate and I'm going to say more like days than weeks," he said.
But Scott insists that the club will only endeavour to determine the circumstances to assist the 30-year-old's welfare.
"I think it's wrong that some people have jumped the gun that this is an AFL integrity matter and somehow Jack has a case to answer before he's allowed to play footy again," Scott said.
"I think that's just assuming the worse in people. Unless you have some information that I don't have, you're probably wrong in making that assumption.
"We'd like to know the circumstances only so we can help him so he can help us. Those two things go together really clearly, I think."
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Outside of Steven and Lachie Fogarty (knee), the Cats have returned from the eight-week isolation break nearing full health.
Jake Kolodjashnij (hip) is ready to return to full training, Stefan Okunbor (Achilles) is running, while Scott pushed for caution around Nakia Cockatoo (hamstring) as he works back to high speed running.
He added that the break had helped Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan, who entered round one underdone, and Luke Dahlhaus, Sam Menegola and Patrick Dangerfield, who were dealing with niggles.
As the Cats await the first four weeks of the fixture release, Scott reaffirmed the club's desire to play all home games at GMHBA Stadium.
"The clubs don't have any influence over the fixture. Sometimes we speak to what is fair and what's not but that doesn't imply it's got any cut-through with the decision makers," he said.
"My position on it has been really, really clear. If you go back to last year, I'd be repeating exactly the same thing I said then, in principle, teams should play their 11 home games where they choose."
In the original fixture released for 2020, the Cats were due to play nine home games in Geelong and two at the MCG against Hawthorn and Essendon.