COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley has defended the club’s medical processes despite having three key players racing against time to be fit for the start of the season.

Jamie Elliott (ankle) and Levi Greenwood (knee) had delayed surgery after injuries dating back to last season, while Alex Fasolo suffered a shoulder injury at the start of pre-season.

In each case the Pies initially went down the rest and recuperation path before eventually opting for surgery.

"Our medical department has reviewed all of those and while they are bitter pills to follow because you’d like to have them at training, the right processes were followed," Buckley told

"You can be aggressive with surgical intervention, but it’s for the doctors and physios to decide what the right course of action is."

Buckley said the trio were ahead of schedule with their recovery and were in the frame to face Hawthorn in the season opener at the MCG on March 24. 

"They’re great rehabbers and they’re smart footballers, so they’re going to be right once the season starts," he said. 

The Pies open their JLT Community Series campaign against Greater Western Sydney in Canberra on March 1.