Carlton has ruled star forward Charlie Curnow out of the start of the 2020 season.
Curnow has dealt with ongoing knee issues since the beginning of 2019 which were compounded when he fractured his right patella in November.
Carlton Director of High Performance Andrew Russell said the 22-year-old will not be available come Round 1.
“With Charlie, we have a really good understanding of what his injury is,” Russell told Carlton Media.
“He won’t be available for the start of the season: we expected it to take a bit of time to recover.
“We’ll give everyone an update as he progresses.”
Curnow only managed 11 games in 2019, but showed glimpses of the star forward many believe he could become.
He was never able to consistently get out on the track and said he’s happy he won’t have to rush back to be ready for the start of the year.
“I had a meeting with the surgeon and the knee is tracking along quite well,” Curnow told the club’s website.
“We’ve ruled out the start of the season, which is kind of nice to know. It means I don’t have to rush back.
“I can take my time to look after the knee and do all the right processes before I make my return to the field.”
The news is better however for key Blues Caleb Marchbank, Marc Murphy and Harry McKay on the injury front.
“Harry was a bit slower than we thought after the season, but we completely changed his program, we stripped it back and started again and he is out there running and is doing some fantastic, dynamic strength work that the guys aren’t seeing off the track,” Russell said.
“We expect to see him pretty soon out there with ball in hand.
“Marchbank had a big injury with his neck. That’s tracked exactly how we thought it would track.
“That’s healed completely. We don’t expect him to have any issues with his neck from here on in and he’s back running and doing some light ball work and should be back in the full program in the next two or three weeks.
“Initially Marc (Murphy) thought he had a significant injury which can happen from time to time, but he came off and it settled down quite quickly.
“He just had some low grade bone bruising and we expect him to probably be training next week.”
Carlton’s top draft pick Brodie Kemp tore his ACL in July and the club is taking it slow with his recovery.
“Brodie’s doing a strength program. It’s slow going at this stage as with an ACL.
“He’s where we thought he was going to be. We’ve got him back running again and he’ll progress and he’ll go back into a similar program to Sam Docherty.
“Whether he plays this year I don’t know.”
Carlton will play Fremantle in their opening game of the Marsh community series on February 29th.