MELBOURNE'S forward line plans have been dealt a further setback with speedster Kysaiah Pickett returning home for a family bereavement.
The Demons hope Pickett will return to the club ahead of round one as they work through injury blows to Ben Brown (knee) and Sam Weideman (fractured femur) who will both miss at least the opening month of the season.
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The injuries have led the Demons to inviting ex-North Melbourne tall Majak Daw to train over the next three weeks and push for one of three vacant list spots.
Pickett has headed to Western Australia following the passing of his mother and will be given ample time before resuming training at the club.
"'Kozzie' will be away for a little while, unfortunately and condolences to his family, his mother passed away," Demons football boss Alan Richardson told SEN on Monday.
"He's committed to go back and the funeral is late February, early March and he'll be back till then. When he feels it's the right time to leave the family he'll come back.
"We're incredibly supportive of whatever Kozzie thinks is the right thing and certainly his family think is the right thing we'll support that.
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"It looks like it'll still be a couple of weeks until he's back, he'll train and then he'll still have a couple of weeks before round one."
The Demons have confirmed Brown will miss at least the first four weeks of the season after recent knee surgery, while Weideman won't be sighted until at least late-April.
The pair completed rehabilitation away from the main group on Monday morning in a circuit session that also included vice-captain Jack Viney as he recovers from a foot setback.
It is hoped Viney will soon to return to main training after surgery in late-January.
Richardson admitted the Demons looked at former St Kilda No.1 pick Paddy McCartin – who will this year play for Sydney's reserves in the VFL after recent concussion troubles – as a forward option but favoured their immediate needs.
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"We really needed someone that we think is a chance to play for us early," Richardson said.
"We think Majak has the attributes to support us in a couple of areas...he's kicked six goals in an AFL game before (2013).
"But if it is that we get (more) injuries, he's probably the person that we would be the most ready to be AFL fit at the start of the year."
Second-year prospect Luke Jackson and out-of-favour tall Tom McDonald loom as the Demons' key forward options to start the season.