Hawks star Tom Mitchell says there’s no set date for a return to playing as he continues his comeback from a horrific leg injury that sidelined him for the entire 2019 season.
The then-reigning Brownlow medallist, Mitchell broke his leg during pre-season training last January, snapping the tibia and fibula in his left leg.
Though the midfielder has been back in training, he said there was no timeline for a return to AFL.
“I’m tracking well, I’ve slowly started to integrate into team training drills and things like that,” he told SEN.
“I still don’t have a confirmation date on a return to play yet, but I’m just really enjoying being amongst the boys and being a part of team training instead of running laps by [myself].”
He said he could “pretty much do everything” but at a lower intensity to account for his return from injury.
“Once you integrate into the team skills component, obviously you’re running, you’re kicking, you’re changing direction, so everything I’m going to need to be able to do to play, I’ve started doing it, but just at a lower level.”
He said he was being realistic and training smarter rather than harder in the wake of his “pretty nasty injury”.
“So I have to sort of pick my sessions, when to train with some intensity and then know when to bring it back down so my body can adjust to training loads again.”
Mitchell talked up former Giant Jonathon Patton, who joined the Hawks in last October’s trade period, and his younger teammates who were stepping up and driving what he hoped would be more premiership success for the club.
He said he wasn’t sure whether his role would be the same as it had been before his injury, but talked up the Hawks’ midfield depth.
“I would definitely like to get back to the standard I was playing at,” he said, adding that he was not sure how long it would take coming off such a serious injury.
“Whether that means we spread the load a little bit more, I think that might be helpful for the whole team, but I’m not sure how it will all look once games start.”
The Hawks start the 2020 season at the MCG against the Brisbane Lions on March 22.