COLLINGWOOD will allow Harry O'Brien time to deal with his personal issues before he returns to the field.

His coach Nathan Buckley said O'Brien's decision to speak publicly about his personal 'demons' was his prerogative and part of the healing process.

He also suggested it was a response to some ill-informed media commentary about O'Brien in recent days.

Buckley emphasised that O'Brien was not, despite the media frenzy, "a basket case".

"Harry O'Brien is a decent human being. He is a young man who is going through issues that he is happy to share with others. I think that is part of his healing, to be honest, but that is his right," Buckley said.

"As a friend, I am there to support him as a person. As a coach to his player, I am there to reconcile that and give him the opportunity to play senior football at AFL level at the same time."  

Buckley said O'Brien had not engaged in physical exercise since the match against Port Adelaide nine days ago before he trained on Tuesday, and he could not give a definitive answer as to when the key defender might play.

But he won't play against Adelaide this Friday night at the MCG.

"We'll give him every opportunity to get up to speed. When 'H' [O'Brien] feels he is ready to go and we feel it is the right time, he will be back," he said.

Buckley added that there were daily issues that the general public and media were not aware of and the club provided support internally.

"That's why internal support is important, that is why culture is important and that is why being there to put an arm around someone at the right time is important. That is why controlling information internally becomes pretty important," Buckley said.

Buckley said O'Brien had been relieved of his position in the leadership group to give him time to focus on getting himself right.

"You're learning every day, not just about Harry, learning about myself," Buckley said.

"We will simply be there for him. There are skills that we have internally and there are skills that we don't have internally, so what we can do is provide to the full extent of the resources at our disposal and make sure that he gets the help and encourage him to get the help that he needs and take the time that he needs externally," Buckley said.

Buckley said that O'Brien was buying into the club's program and its values, and said he was aware that his profile and ability to speak came because he performed well for Collingwood.

Buckley said he spoke to O'Brien just before the media conference, and the 26-year-old defender had told him he had enjoyed training.

The coach said the O’Brien needed direction, leadership and boundaries as he matured and dealt with what he had experienced.

"We want to give him the chance to get back and do what he does best, and he wants to get back and do what he does best," Buckley said

"Part of the last couple of days has been a process to get that back on track, but it will be a product of Harry's mental state and application along with what the team needs."