Jake Kelly in action during Essendon's match against St Kilda at the MCG on April 1, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

ESSENDON is taking a conservative approach with Jake Kelly's concussion as the hardened defender deals with his latest head knock.

Kelly has missed the Bombers' past two games after being hit with delayed concussion in the club's loss to Port Adelaide in round eight.

The former Crow has had a number of concussions through his career, including a big clash in round one of 2021 with ex-teammate and Cats superstar Patrick Dangerfield that saw Dangerfield suspended for three games. 

The Bombers backman had started this season in strong form in his second campaign with the club and has been back into some training, but the club won't rush Kelly.  

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"It's been a pretty slow process and fairly conservative approach and that's driven both by Jake and us. He's had a number of concussions now so he's asking quite a few questions and he's a highly intelligent young fella and he's looking at bigger picture and life after footy," Bombers head of high performance Daniel McPherson told AFL.com.au.

"Medically he's pretty good. The guys have done a lot of testing with him internally and he's also done some external neuro stuff as well and all of that testing is pretty good. Now it's about him being comfortable and us being comfortable that he's confident to get back out there and play.

"And that could happen very quickly. He's been back training, he was training today and he will do a bit tomorrow but it's just him being comfortable to go out there and rip in once he's satisfied with all the answers that he's getting back, which he's getting closer to."


The 28-year-old started to feel the effects of the knock in the days after the Bombers' five-point defeat to the Power, seeing Kelly take some more time to work through the concussion.

McPherson said the Bombers wouldn't hurry Kelly into returning to the field before he was ready. 

"With concussion you need to be really careful and guided by the player. First and foremost the symptoms have to be gone and with Jake they pretty much are, but if he's not comfortable to go out there and play then we're certainly not going to be pushing him out there to go out and play," he said.

"Talking to the doctor again this morning he's pretty happy with the information that he gathered in the last week or two."

Brothers Will and Jake Kelly embrace after the Anzac Day match between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG in round six, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Bombers could regain defender Jayden Laverde (shoulder) for this week's trip to face the bottom-placed West Coast at Optus Stadium, while Dylan Shiel (calf) and Matt Guelfi (who played his first game back from a hamstring injury in the VFL) could also be considered.