Melbourne Demon's co-captain Jack Trengove was ready to throw himself into pre-season training, but likely won't be back until January because of an ankle problem.
The 21 year old midfielder was seeking a redemption year for himself, after a self-confessed form slump last season when the Demons won just four games, when he detected soreness in his ankle. Scans of the ankle showed the early onset of a stress fracture in his left foot.
Trengove will wear a protective boot for the next six weeks and will not travel with the team on its nine day training camp in Darwin. The team cannot say for certain whether Trengove will be ready for round one next year. It's likely he will miss the NAB Cup and practice-match fixtures.
"Not quite the news I was hoping for, that's footy sometimes. Now to come back bigger and stronger for 2013!" Trengove tweeted.
Rugby manager Josh Mahoney said last Wednesday, "We expect Jack to be able to begin his running program in January. His rehab will be continually assessed but at this stage we are hopeful he'll be available for the start of the AFL season. This is clearly a disappointing setback for Jack. The positive element to this is that the stress fracture was identified early, which will allow Jack to begin his rehab immediately."
Trengove added last Wednesday that he was shattered to miss training camp. The team hoped Trengove's pre-season would be a launching pad for the second year co-captain to improve and as a piece in Mark Neeld's puzzle to resurrect the Demons.
Trengove admitted to lacking a powerful punch in his offensive game last season, but was given high marks by teammates and coaches for defense and work ethic. He will now look to put the foot injury behind him and be physically ready to lead the team next year.
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