CAMERON Giles has not worn a shoe on his right foot for eight months and has already been ruled out of the majority of the 2015 season, but the young Carlton defender is staying positive.
Giles' first season at Visy Park last year ended abruptly after seven VFL games when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right navicular in late May.
After having a plate and four screws inserted in his foot shortly afterwards, Giles spent seven weeks on crutches.
In November, he thought he was finally on the cusp of being able to take his foot out of a moonboot and into a shoe again.
But that's when – on the eve of Carlton pre-season training starting – he hit his "lowest point".
Unfortunately, scans revealed Giles' navicular had not healed and required a bone graft.
The 19-year-old South Australian is documenting his recovery from this latest bout of surgery on new social media platform, Incogo.
On Wednesday, he had some good news to share.
"Crutches officially gone as of today. Will be walking around in the moon boot for another two-three weeks, where I will gradually move into wearing a right shoe again," Giles said.
Giles knows navicular injuries are "pretty scary" and have ended the careers of players such as All Australian Geelong defender Matthew Egan and North Melbourne forward Tom Curran.
But he is confident he will play again.
"In my case, the indications are that the injury will be fixed, so it's more a case of being spot-on with the rehab," he said.
Melbourne midfielder Jack Trengove has also helped keep Giles' spirits up, with the pair exchanging occasional text messages.
"Jack's had two lots of (navicular) surgery just like me, so we're pretty much in the same boat and we've been able to compare notes," Giles said.
"Basically Jack's told me to remain positive and to keep it all in perspective.
"He's told me that you can't change what's happened, just set little milestones along the way and put your best foot forward.
"Hopefully soon that'll be my right one!"
Giles has not given up hope of playing this year, saying that if he returns to the Blues' main training group by July he can still salvage something from the season.
"I haven't walked for about six or seven months, so it'll be a case of just learning to walk again," he said.
"That will happen for a couple of months and I'll walk wearing the boot for a few weeks before jumping onto the Ultra-G (treadmill) and working at 10, 20 and 30 per cent body weight and so on.
"Hopefully, by July I'll again be amongst the main training group and that is the golden month because I'll then know whether I'll be able to get six or seven games in the back end of 2015 before pre-season starts again."