FREMANTLE skipper Nat Fyfe is optimistic he'll be ready for round one of the AFL season despite experiencing numerous setbacks in recent months.
Fyfe underwent a reconstruction on his right shoulder in July, and he was forced to go in for another round of surgery in October after a small crack was discovered.
More complications arose when he picked up a bacterial infection in his shoulder from the second round of surgery, forcing him onto intravenous antibiotics.
Fyfe will need to be on some form of antibiotics for several months in order to fully clear the infection.
It was feared the setbacks would rule out him for the start of the season, but the two-time Brownlow medallist is hopeful that won't be the case.
"I've had a bit of a tumultuous off-season but now I've done five running sessions since coming back, I'm getting my strength back into it (the shoulder)," Fyfe said at Fremantle's Festive Long Lunch.
"On Tuesday, it will be seven weeks since the operation. By about 12 to 13 weeks, I'll be back to full training and by mid-February I'll be in full contact and ready for round one."
Despite making some good progress of late, Fyfe remains cautious.
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"I've normally felt bulletproof after surgeries - with a recurrence, it's been quite humbling and a day-by-day process," Fyfe said.
"At this stage, everything is exactly where it's supposed to be."
Fremantle's season kicks off against the Crows at Adelaide Oval on March 20.