ESSENDON spearhead Joe Daniher's return to the field has been pushed back by a calf injury.
The Bombers goalkicker, who hasn't played since April last year, suffered the strain training with the club on the Gold Coast.
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The club says it is unrelated to his persistent groin troubles, however it puts the 26-year-old at least another two weeks away from making his long-awaited return.
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"During our rehabilitation skills session on the weekend, unfortunately Joe felt some soreness in the calf, and we had that imaged (scanned) yesterday which confirmed a minor calf strain so that will mean he is off running for about 10 to 14 days," Essendon medico David Rundle told the club's website.
The Bombers had hopes of easing Daniher back into scratch matches in coming weeks after his step up in training over the past month, which has seen the tall forward resume match drills and long kicking.
Daniher has played only 11 games since the end of 2017, when he was the Bombers' best and fairest winner and named a Virgin Australia AFL All-Australian, due to his ongoing osteitis pubis problems.
The club also confirmed AFL.com.au's report that speedy defender Conor McKenna will require surgery this week after fracturing his finger in his return game against North Melbourne.
McKenna will have a plate inserted into his hand but remains a slight chance to face the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium this Friday night.
"Obviously, this week is a tight turnaround ahead of our game on Friday night so we'll see how he responds to the operation and we'll assess his functional ability later in the week before we decide whether he can play or not," Rundle said.
Meanwhile, Essendon has announced club vice-president Paul Brasher will succeed Lindsay Tanner as president later this year, as agreed at the club's July board meeting.
Tanner, a former federal Finance Minister, took over the Bombers presidency from Paul Little in December, 2015.
Four weeks later, 34 of the club's players were hit with two-year anti-doping suspensions by the World Anti-Doping Agency and Tanner has overseen the club's recovery from that crisis.