A RETURN date for Michael Hurley is unknown after the Essendon defender was discharged from his second stint at hospital dealing with a hip infection.

Hurley was admitted to hospital earlier this month after contracting the infection and missing several training sessions as the club looked to control the concern.

He was released after a stay but returned to hospital last weekend when the condition again flared. 

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The club is unclear when Hurley will be able to return to training with its round one game just over a month away after battling the serious infection. 

"First and foremost, Michael's health and wellbeing is our main priority right now and he is now recovering after being in hospital again over recent days," Essendon football manager Josh Mahoney said.

Michael Hurley testing out the leg at the Hangar in January. Picture: Getty Images

"Having spoken with Michael, he is in reasonably good spirits but is now resting and in recovery. We do need to see how he responds as the infection clears over the coming days before we can put any timelines on his return to the club and training.

"We'll continue to take a conservative approach with the management of this infection with Michael but we're hopeful of a full recovery soon."

Hurley looked set for a return to the forward line this season having spent much of the summer period training in attack under new coach Ben Rutten.

The two-time All-Australian has played 193 games for the club, having begun his career as a centre-half forward.

The Bombers could also be without main goalkicking hope Jake Stringer for the start of the season as he continues to manage an Achilles injury that has disrupted his pre-season.