LANCE Franklin has taken another step in returning from a calf niggle, joining his Sydney teammates for part of its training session on Friday.
Franklin, who has not played a senior match since the end of 2019, split his time between running on his own and joining in team drills at the Swans' Lakeside Oval training base.
The 34-year-old suffered the latest soft-tissue setback last month, but moved freely, running strides, taking shots at goal and ultimately taking part in ball movement drills.
Sydney will take a cautious approach with its superstar - who ran at close to top speed - with a little over two weeks until a round one date against Brisbane at the Gabba.
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But the news is not so good for Robbie Fox who will be out of action for six weeks after rupturing a tendon in his middle finger against GWS last weekend, and there is a cloud of reigning B&F winner Jake Lloyd who sprained the back of his knee and is out of this Sunday's AAMI Community Series clash with the Giants.
Speaking prior to the training session, teammate Isaac Heeney said he looked forward to lining up alongside Franklin in the Swans' front half after his 2020 was cut short due to ankle ligament damage.
"He's looking fit, getting a lot of work in. It's always a boost for the lads," Heeney said.
"I'll be up forward a majority of time I think and then maybe into the midfield every now and then.
"Hopefully I can kick a few goals, hopefully Bud can get fit, and Paps (Tom Papley) as well, that'd be nice.
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"I'm just excited to get back out there."