COLLINGWOOD defender Ben Reid feels for Fremantle midfielder Harley Bennell and understands the mental challenges he would have faced as he prepares to finally return from persistent calf setbacks.
Reid played just nine games across 2014-15 because of numerous calf and quad injuries and said the biggest challenge for players in those situations was mental.
Bennell has faced multiple setbacks and controversial off-field incidents during his calf rehabilitation, and is yet to play a senior game with the Dockers since arriving at the end of 2015.
The 24-year-old, who flew to Germany for specialist treatment in December, is set to play 60 minutes for WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder on Saturday in a milestone for the high-profile recruit.
"Going through a lot of injuries myself, you certainly feel for guys who go through long-term injuries or reoccurrence injuries, which I had a lot of," Reid told AFL.com.au.
"You see guys like Harley and Brett Deledio, it's a tough part of footy and you have to deal with it as well as you can.
"The biggest thing is just trying to get your head right around it as well.
"You sort of see some light at the end of the tunnel and then it's taken away."
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon this week cited Reid as a player who had suffered similar injuries to Bennell but without the scrutiny his midfielder has endured.
The Dockers coach spoke in support of Bennell on the eve of the season, indicating in multiple interviews that criticism of the former Gold Coast star through his rehab had racist overtones.
"That's how I felt at the time," Lyon said on Channel Nine this week.
"There's clearly been other players at other clubs with long-term calf issues … Ben Reid at Collingwood, he missed 12 months with a calf injury.
"He (Bennell) had a two-week period where he had a meltdown where he was really struggling … he needed to get some support and gather himself and reboot."
Reid said his persistent soft-tissue setbacks over a 130-game career had left him well-equipped to deal with injuries and disappointment on-field.
"Some guys are lucky where they don't have an injury for their whole career, and other guys get them consistently," Reid said.
"You learn as you go and the older you get, you learn ways to cope with them or have different ways to rehab them and stop yourself from getting them.
"I've had my fair share and I've learn a lot of things along the way, which I think holds me in good stead."