A return from injury is imminent for Western Bulldogs veteran Dale Morris.Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has marvelled at the mental strength and recuperative powers of Dale Morris as he nears a return from a serious knee injury.
The 35-year-old, who famously played in the 2016 grand final with a broken back, returned to full training this week after suffering a partial anterior cruciate ligament tear in February.
Morris has suffered plenty of setbacks since he broke through to make his AFL debut as a 22-year-old in 2005.
The worst was a horror leg break that cost him the 2012 season, but despite his late start and injury issues, Morris will soon play the 242nd AFL game of his career.
“I’ve only been here five minutes really when you consider his career, but it’s almost like folklore with him,” Beveridge said of the much-loved veteran’s ability to overcome adversity.
“He’s had a lot of injury and setbacks over the journey and he’s still played a lot of footy.
“I think the good thing is with this injury he’s been able to stay active and run.
“He probably hasn’t used the footy as much as he’d like yet but over the course of the next two weeks we’ll ramp that up and then he’ll be available the week after this.
“He’s not back to his total capacity and capability yet but hopefully over the next two weeks he builds confidence with the Sherrins and he can go into his first game full of confidence.”
The Bulldogs play winless Brisbane at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night as they look to keep a recent upturn in form going.
Beveridge’s side are 14th on the ladder after back-to-back wins and could regain star midfielder Marcus Bontempelli for the clash.
Bontempelli is battling a hip injury and was a late withdrawal from the side that defeated Gold Coast in Ballarat last week.
Beveridge has set a Thursday deadline for the 22-year-old to prove his fitness.
“He’s a chance … we’ll see how he goes and pick him if he comes up on Thursday,” Beveridge said.
“But he got through training last week and was sore afterwards.
“We gave him until early morning Friday to let us know (but) we won’t go that far (this time) … we just won’t pick him if he can’t train on Thursday.”