ADAM Cooney is adamant that he will be fit for the Western Bulldogs' season opener against the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, despite recently spending time in hospital with an infected knee.

"I've been training pretty well, and I've done most of the work through the pre-season, so I've been really happy with the way things were going," Cooney said on Tuesday.

"But I got a little bit of an infection on Tuesday last week – it might have been from a cut, but I'm not 100 per cent sure what caused it.

"So I went into hospital and had antibiotics for 48 hours. From then it settled down pretty quickly.

"I'll be desperate to play this week, as in any week. You want to play, and particularly in round one because you want to start the year well.

"As long as I get through training tomorrow, I'll certainly be putting my hand up for selection."

Cooney stepped up his training load on Tuesday, which lifted his mood as the clash with the NAB Cup champions looms.

"I ran this morning and did some work on the treadmill," he said.

"I trained a bit yesterday as well, so it has settled down really well."

Dogs coach Brendan McCartney has given Cooney some simple instructions.

"He just said to me, 'As long as you're feeling good tomorrow and you get through training, and do the amount of work that you need to do to get up and play, we'll pick you'."

In recent years the 27-year-old, who won the 2008 Brownlow Medal, has struggled to overcome a chronic knee problem that dates back to the latter stages of the '08 season.

Over the summer he travelled to Germany to see an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Peter Wehling, who is an expert in managing ageing joints.

Wehling took some blood from Cooney's arm, separated out the anti-inflammatory properties, then injected it into his knee.

The treatment reduced the pain in Cooney's knee almost straight away.

"I was always searching the internet for new training techniques and things like that," he explained.

"I just sort of stumbled across a story – I think it was on the ESPN website – about a bunch of NBA players and other sports stars in America that have gone to see this doctor with knee problems and hip problems.

"To a man, they all said they had come out of it and got a lot of improvement, so that pricked my ears up a bit.

"I did a bit more research and we went from there."

Cooney has been told the treatment will remain effective for anything between 12 months and four years.

As a result, he is heading into the Bulldogs' 2013 campaign with plenty of confidence.

"I suppose the last couple of years I haven't been able to play the footy that I've wanted to and not been out on the park as much as I want to as well," Cooney said.

"But the coaches have reassured me that I've done a hell of a lot of work this pre-season, and I'm in a great place at the moment.

"I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but all I can say is that I'm feeling great at the moment.

"I've done a full pre-season. I've played three NAB Cup games, which is the most I've played in the last few years, and I've managed to play a lot more in the midfield.

"So I'm looking to build on that this year."

While there has been much talk of Cooney being restricted to a half-forward role this season, he does not believe that will be the case.

"I'd like to think that I'll be spending the majority of my time in the midfield," he said.

"My fitness levels will allow me to do that this year.

"I played the majority in the midfield in our last practice game against Richmond and got some good GPS results out of it, so I'm pretty confident that I can slip back into the midfield for most of the year."

Adam Cooney is a midfielder in AFL Fantasy. He averaged 75 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy hub.

Adam McNicol covers Western Bulldogs news for Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol