PORT Adelaide doesn't have a fixed return date for key forward Charlie Dixon after he had a setback in his stop-start recovery from a broken leg and dislocated ankle.
AFL.com.au understands Dixon's training was scaled back last week after experiencing pain following three weeks of running.
Dixon didn't complete any running on the ground last week, instead returning to the Alter-G – an Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which uses air pressure to unweight between 20 and 100 per cent of the user's body weight.
The Power are hopeful Dixon will be running full-time with the playing group this week once the players report back to the club on Thursday.
He won't be ready for the Power's season opener against Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday, March 23.
But beyond that, the Power aren't putting a timeline on Dixon's expected return until he can run for a few weeks and gradually increase his training loads without getting sore and needing to back off.
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"Charlie, I think, will be back prior to mid-season," Power vice-captain Hamish Hartlett told AFL Nation last Saturday.
"I couldn't give you an exact week or approximate week, but I wouldn't think he'd be back within the first three or four weeks of the season.
"Given his injury, it's a joint injury and he weighs 105kg, there's a lot of pressure and force going through that joint on a day-to-day basis, especially when he starts running again, so it will be a long, slow process for Charlie.
"He's been really patient, really positive, which has been great."
Dixon has shed five kilograms from his 108kg frame to lighten the load from the joint of his ankle.
He had a slow and steady build-up before Christmas, increasing his training loads early in the New Year and returning to running on February 11 before having to be slowed down.
Dixon suffered the nasty injury in the Power's round 21 loss to West Coast last year.
The 28-year-old finished the season with 26 goals in 20 games.
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The Power could be without another tall forward for the start of the season with Paddy Ryder in doubt after having surgery to repair a depressed cheekbone.
The Power are hopeful Ryder will be right for round one, but won't take any risks with the 30-year-old forward/ruck.
Even with those injuries, the Power can still call on 200cm utility Justin Westhoff and impressive youngster Todd Marshall (198cm) to be marking targets up forward.
Hartlett expects to play a SANFL trial against Adelaide next Friday night as the half-back flanker makes his return from a torn ACL sustained on April 26 last year.
"I'll be right to go for a couple of weeks' time," Hartlett said.
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"I fully trained a couple of weeks ago, the knee swelled up a little bit, got a little bit irritated, which is absolutely a common occurrence with these types of things, so I just had to decrease my workload a little bit. Since then, I've been able to build back up.
"I trained fully (last) Wednesday and again (last Friday), did a big session, about 11km's worth (of running) and plenty of high speed.
"The knee felt incredible and has pulled up really well (last Saturday).
"I'll do another couple of weeks of training and then my aim is to be available for selection for round one of the AFL, and that same weekend, the (Port) Magpies have got a (SANFL) trial game against the Crows, so I dare say that's the game that I'll play."
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Co-captain Ollie Wines is also making positive progress after dislocating his shoulder while wakeboarding on Australia Day.
"Ollie is tracking as well as I've seen from a guy that has had a shoulder operation like he has," Hartlett said.
"I think he's six weeks (last Saturday) post-operation.
"He's running, hasn't quite started contact training yet, but will do over the next week or two.
"I don't think he'll be ok for the start of the season, but certainly we'll see him early on in the season."