Hawthorn will make a decision on Friday on whether Tom Scully will play his first game for the club against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at the MCG.
If he does, which appears increasingly likely, his return will come 12 months to the day since he suffered the season-ending ankle injury when playing for Greater Western Sydney against Collingwood in round two last season.
The 27-year-old was traded to Hawthorn for a future fourth-round pick during last season's trade period after the Giants decided to pass on Scully's contract. The Hawks assumed the risk associated with Scully's injured ankle.
Scully was open to the move which brought him closer to family having joined the Giants from Melbourne in 2012.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the club had been impressed with Scully's professional approach as he committed to his rehabilitation during the pre-season.
He said they would take everything into account when determining whether he should resume at the MCG in the AFL or at Werribee's Avalon Airport Oval on Sunday in a VFL practice match.
"Hes spent the best part of the last six to eight weeks in the performance phase, getting himself ready to play," Clarkson said.
"Weve just got to make that choice now on whether he is ready."
Scully is one of the game's best athletes, with his exceptional running power making him a perfect fit for a club that has lacked a two-way running wingman to accompany Isaac Smith since Brad Hill joined Fremantle at the start of 2017.
Clarkson said Scully's recovery process was different last season as he was pushing to get back for finals with the Giants, however the Hawks have been able to patient with that urgency removed from the equation.
"He is such a pro," Clarkson said.
"It's always delicate when a guy is returning from a long-term injury … we held him back deliberately last week."
The Hawks, who defeated Adelaide in rRead More – Source