ESSENDON has not put a timeframe on Joe Daniher's return to full training, as the key forward continues to overcome a debilitating osteitis pubis injury.
As AFL.com.au reported on Wednesday, Daniher has begun to step up his summer program, completing a heavy running load this week and skills work at the club's Tullamarine base.
The Bombers have said they will prioritise the 24-year-old goalkicker's long-term fitness ahead of him featuring at the start of this season.
The club's fitness boss Justin Crow said Daniher had started to build up his training but that there was no time set for him to rejoin the main group.
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"Apart from a small interruption with his viral conjunctivitis – a systemic illness that can knock you around a little bit – he's had a really solid month of training," Crow said on the club's website.
"In that time, he's built up to be able to do an 11km session next week. We're really happy with the volume he’s getting in, and he’s starting to do a lot more football movements.
"What we need to start to work on is his top speed and getting him back into training drills, which we'll do when he’s ready."
Daniher played the first seven games last season before being ruled out indefinitely and in the end missed the rest of the season. The club initially said Daniher could miss only a month.
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Martin Gleeson's return to full training remains at least another three weeks away from the ankle injury he suffered in last year's JLT Community Series.
The attacking half-back has been getting more involved in training in recent weeks but the club says he is struggling to reach top speed.
"With Marty, we're finding that the last little bit of high-end acceleration, deceleration and cutting to be a challenge, but he’s definitely showing progress in those areas," Crow said.
"We've built him up to high volumes of training. We think he needs another three weeks where he's really emphasising that higher degree of acceleration and cutting, as he drip-feeds back into main training."
Ruckman Tom Bellchambers and rookie Luke Lavender, who both had shoulder surgery at the end of last year, are set to rejoin training next week, while Orazio Fantasia will be involved in all drills within two weeks after overcoming his hand injury.